Progress in Iraq? They're building more morgues

Baghdad officials say death toll in August was almost triple what they first reported.

Published September 8, 2006 1:44PM (EDT)

The U.S. military hasn't had much success in building the hospitals or health clinics it promised, but the Iraqi government is moving forward on another building project: As the Washington Post reports today, the Iraqi Health Ministry plans to open "two new branch morgues in Baghdad and add doctors and refrigerator units to raise capacity to as many as 250 corpses a day."

There's plainly a need. Officials at the Baghdad morgue say they took in 1,536 victims of violent deaths in August. As the Post notes, their initial tallies for August suggested that they had received only 550 bodies -- such a dramatic decrease from the 1,800 deaths in July that U.S. and Iraqi officials began to claim that their security plan for Baghdad was working. As the Post says, the new number appears to "erase" most of that.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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