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How to battle high murder rates in Iraq

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It's an easy process really: you change the rules. Telling the truth is so old fashioned and really has no place in our democratic society today. I mean, what really constitutes a murder anyway? Is a person who was blown to bits really the same as someone who was shot or tortured? Uh huh, it's all so clear now, isn't it?

The U.S. military did not count people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks when it reported a dramatic drop in the number of murders in the Baghdad area last month, the U.S. command said Monday.

The decision to include only victims of drive-by shootings and those killed by torture and execution, usually at the hands of death squads, allowed U.S. officials to argue that a security crackdown that began in the capital August 7 had more than halved the city's murder rate.

Hmmm, I see.

At the end of August, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, said violence had dropped significantly because of the operation. Caldwell said "attacks in Baghdad were well below the monthly average for July. Since August 7, the murder rate in Baghdad dropped 52 percent from the daily rate for July."

However, Caldwell did not make the key distinction that the rate he was referring to excluded a significant part of the daily violence in and around the capital. On Monday, for example, at least 20 of the 26 people slain in the capital were killed in bombings.

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