Bush Downplays the Major Sources of Iraq Violence

Yesterday, President Bush told Americans that suicide bombers are the “main weapon of the enemy” in Iraq:

It is a difficult task to stop suicide bombers. That’s the — but that’s one of the main — that’s the main weapon of the enemy, the capacity to destroy innocent life with a suicider.

President Bush wants the American people to think that “suiciders” are causing all the violence in Iraq. Yet while suicide attacks do take place, it is the “galaxy of armed groups, each with its own loyalty and agenda, which are accelerating the country’s slide into chaos.”

According to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, 56 percent of U.S troop deaths this month have been the result of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) – not suicide bombs. (In 2005, only 411 of all 34,131 insurgent attacks in Iraq involved suicide car bombs.)

The violence is systemic, and Bush is incorrect to say “suiciders” are the main cause of bloodshed. From today’s Washington Post:

Human rights in Iraq are being “severely undermined” by growing insecurity, violence and a “breakdown of law and order” caused by militias and criminal gangs, the U.N. mission here said Tuesday. …

Baghdad’s main morgue – which handles only the remains of victims of violent or suspicious deaths, not including bombing victims – issued 1,155 death certificates in April, the U.N. agency reported.

Threats to Iraqi security go beyond suicide bombers.