Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Iraq Contractor Security Assessment Differs From Bush/McCain

By Spencer Ackerman 06/30/2008 12:11PM

Whenever Bush administration or Sen. John McCain campaign officials open their mouths about Iraq, they portray the country as on a continuous path of Surge-based stabilization. "As security has improved, the environment has changed for the better," Amb. Ryan C. Crocker told Wolf Blitzer on Sunday. "I, of course, am encouraged... The progress has been significant but the progress is also fragile," said a more-intellectually-honest-but-not-by-much Sen. John McCain.

And the latest Pentagon Iraq security report (PDF) to Congress reported that improvements in the security environment have been substantial over the past nine months but significant challenges remain."But rather than security improvements being "substantial over the past nine months," an assessment today from a leading private security and intelligence contractor in Iraq shows that the security picture hasn't changed significantly since October 1, 2007.

GardaWorld is a private intelligence firm advising corporations doing business in Iraq. Its website explains: "In Iraq, through strategic local partnerships and the expertise of expatriate specialists and resident security personnel, who are fluent in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, French, Russian, and English, GardaWorld is able to provide high-quality, tailored solutions. We are formally registered with Ministry of Interior and have all necessary operating licenses."The following charts appeared in GardaWorld's June 30 intelligence briefing for its clients and were obtained by The Washington Independent. On page 2 of the briefing, GardaWorld prints two charts tracing the trajectory of security both Iraq-wide and in Baghdad specifically.

Take a look at the Iraq-wide chart: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/iraq-contractor

As you can see, the incident level spikes and ebbs, but responsible statisticians will see -- as signified by the black bar -- that the daily incident frequency is basically flat since October 1. If anything, it's ticked up somewhat, from about 50 daily security incidents in October to about 70 through the winter and coming in at around 60 presently.Now take a look at the Baghdad chart: Similar deal. The black line that cuts through the spikes and ebbs shows another slight increase in daily security incidents in Baghdad, from 10 in October to about 25 today. (For the full page of the GardaWorld report, click here.)

It's true that this level of violence is lower than that of the bloody spring and summer of 2006, but it's also true that the trajectory of violence is increasing, not decreasing.

Not that you'll ever hear Bush or McCain acknowledge this.

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