The Corner

Re: The Questions That Frank Rich Ignored

1. For analysis of recent terrorist attacks in Iraq–analysis, mind you, not bloviating of the kind in which Frank Rich constantly indulges–readers referred me to a site called “Belmont Club” and a blogger named “Wretchard.” On September 29, Wretchard posted a detailed consideration of that month’s terrorist attacks, breaking down the attacks province by province.

Wretchard’s fundamental conclusion: The bulk of the attacks–2,139 out of 2,429–took place in just six of Iraq’s 18 provinces. “The real hotbeds are Baghdad and areas to the northwest–the Sunni triangle….Prime Minister Allawi’s assertion that most provinces are ‘completely safe’ and that security prospects are bright are…supported by…[the] facts.”

Note to the ever-incurious Frank Rich: Where did Wretchard get the facts to which he submits to such thorough and admirable analysis? Why, from the New York Times, Mr. Rich, your very own newspaper.

2. Wretchard notes that, according to an intelligence expert for a company called Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc., which has operations in Iraq, the frequency of attacks in Iraq has fallen since April. In that month, attacks averaged 120 a day. They now average 80 a day. Yet this past Sunday Frank Rich asserted that “These days the bombings are more frequent….”

Where did Wretchard find the information that so neatly refutes Frank Rich? Once again, in the New York Times. Does Rich ever read the newspaper that employs him?

3. Even in Baghdad, the locus of the violence, there are appear to be far more Iraqis intent on rebuilding their nation than terrorists intent instead on undermining it. Consider a recent article in USA Today to which a reader brought my attention.

“They leave their homes before dawn,” the article states, “their police academy uniforms jammed in a bag….Navigating Baghdad’s darkened streets, the police cadets try to avoid checkpoints periodically set up by a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Most have received death threats….

“Despite this, young Iraqis are lining up by the thousands every day for police and army jobs or for positions with multinational contractors. ‘I can’t tell you how many thousands we turn away,’ said Melvin Goudie, a Scotsman who is director of the Baghdad Police Academy. ‘I’ve always thought after the latest attack that no one is going to come back. … They keep on coming back.’”

Despite death threats, they keep going back. That is evidence of hopefulness and courage, not of chaos.


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