Obama’s new visit to Iraq compared with his visit 2 years ago

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Juan Cole writes on Truthout:

“Senator Barack Obama is in Iraq for consultations with American military commanders and Iraqi leaders. Despite all the talk about Iraq being “calm,” I’d like to point out that the month just before the last visit Barack Obama made to Iraq (he went in January, 2006), there were 537 civilian and ISF [Iraqi Security Force] Iraqi casualties. In June of this year, 2008, there were 554, according to AP. These are official statistics gathered passively that probably only capture about 10 percent of the true toll.

That is, the Iraqi death toll is actually still worse now than the last time Obama was in Iraq! (See the bombings and shootings listed below for Sunday). The hype around last year’s troop escalation obscures a simple fact: that Obama formed his views about the need for the US to leave Iraq at a time when its security situation was very similar to what it is now! Why a return to the bad situation in late 2005 and early 2006 should be greeted by the GOP as the veritable coming of the Messiah is beyond me. You have people like Joe Lieberman saying silly things like if it weren’t for the troop escalation, Obama wouldn’t be able to visit Iraq. Uh, he visited it before the troop escalation, just fine.”

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