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Gen. Petraeus "Softened" Reports of Violence in Iraq

Faiz Shakir: The Washington Post reports that Gen. Petraeus has altered the latest National Intelligence Estimate to downplay the level of violence in Iraq.
 
 
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This post, written by Faiz Shakir, originally appeared on Think Progress

The Washington Post reports that Gen. David Petraeus, after reviewing an early draft of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, succeeded in altering the document's judgments about the violence in Iraq:

The NIE, requested by the White House Iraq coordinator, Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, in preparation for the testimony, met with resistance from U.S. military officials in Baghdad, according to a senior U.S. military intelligence officer there. Presented with a draft of the conclusions, Petraeus succeeded in having the security judgments softened to reflect improvements in recent months, the official said.

The first line of the key judgments of the NIE reported that there had been " measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq's security situation," but cautioned that violence will remain high over the next six to 12 months. The Washington Post's report today suggests that the intelligence community's initial judgment about the security situation was harsher.

Petraeus and other military officials have repeatedly suggested that sectarian killings in Iraq are down, touting the decline as proof of security progress in Iraq. Media reports, however, dispute the military claims, and the military has thus far refused to provide its statistics to resolve the matter:

U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don't support the claim. [McClatchy, 8/15/07]

Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report.

 
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