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Ignoring Surge-Related Drop in Baghdad Violence, Times Frets Over Crowded Jails

"The numbers suggested that the security plan's emphasis on aggressive block-by-block sweeps of troubled neighborhoods in the capital had flooded Iraq's frail detention system, and appeared to confirm the fears of some human rights advocates who have been predicting that the new plan would aggravate already poor conditions."

The Times finally reports on the results of the troop increase in Baghdad, which seems to have brought a measure of safety to some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq's capital - but Kirk Semple and Alissa Rubin's A1 article Wednesday ("Sweeps in Iraq Cram Two Jails With Detainees") ignored that angle in favor of concern about...crowded jails.


"Hundreds of Iraqis detained in the Baghdad security crackdown have been crammed into two detention centers run by the Defense Ministry that were designed to hold only dozens of people, a government monitoring group said Tuesday.


"The numbers suggested that the security plan's emphasis on aggressive block-by-block sweeps of troubled neighborhoods in the capital had flooded Iraq's frail detention system, and appeared to confirm the fears of some human rights advocates who have been predicting that the new plan would aggravate already poor conditions.


"The disclosure came as violence continued to tear through Iraq, including a double suicide-vehicle bombing in Tal Afar that killed at least 55 people, the authorities said, and the murder of two Chaldean Christian nuns in Kirkuk."


The second half of the article catches up on all the recent violence in Iraq, but interestingly, not the violence in those targeted Baghdad neighborhoods. Could it be because the "aggressive block-by-block sweeps" are having a positive effect on public safety? Apparently, that's not newsworthy.


The rest of the story is filled with anecdotes of violence - notice the nicely played cheap shot on Bush.


"In the most destructive of the two suicide attacks in Tal Afar on Tuesday, the bomber was driving a truck partially filled with sacks of flour for bread that concealed his explosives. He started handing out the sacks to people, saying it was free aid. But as a crowd gathered around his vehicle, he detonated the bomb.


"An Iraqi police colonel said at least 55 people had died and 183 had been wounded.


"Salih al-Qadu, the president of the main hospital in Tal Afar, said his staff had received 50 bodies and more than 100 wounded people. 'We are still getting more injuries, so I can't give you the death toll now,' he said late Tuesday.


"The hospital had called to Mosul for emergency supplies, he said, but gunmen turned back the vehicles carrying the supplies."


"Tal Afar was once cited by President Bush as an example of American military success in Iraq."