The BBC grudgingly reports General Odierno's 'claims' (because, of course, he might be lying) that violence in Baghdad has fallen by 50% since the beginning of the year. But lest anyone get too optimistic, the announcement is outweighed by enough bad news to suggest that, in the grand scheme of things, it's nothing to get excited about even if it's true.
First, the findings of the determinedly negative poll which the BBC and ABC released to coincide with the Petraeus/Crocker reports to Congress are rehashed:
According to the poll, more than two-thirds said that in terms of security and the conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development the surge had made things worse.
The poll is about as reliable as a Norman Hsu tax return, as I posted here. And, despite having at least three other stories about Blackwater on its site, the BBC feels compelled to bring that subject up too:
The latest assessment comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iraq's government, after 11 Iraqi civilians were killed when guards from the US private security firm, Blackwater, opened fire in a busy Baghdad square on Sunday.
Leaving aside the fact that we don't know the full story of that incident – I posted on it here, and The White Rabbit has more here – tensions are only 'heightened' according to the BBC's distorted metrics.
Would it kill the BBC to occasionally report some good news from Iraq without trying to render it meaningless in the same breath? Of course it would, because then people might actually start to believe we're winning.