General George W. Casey Jr. is trying to downplay the severity of the situation in Iraq:
“Make no mistake about it, we are in a tough fight here in the center of the country and in Anbar Province” to the west of Baghdad, base to much of the Sunni insurgency, the general said. “But I think it’s important to remind people that 90 percent of the sectarian violence in Iraq takes place in about a 30-mile radius from the center of Baghdad, and that, secondly, 90 percent of that violence takes place in five provinces” of the 18 that make up Iraq. “This is not a country that is awash in sectarian violence.”
Talk about famous last words -- I'll take the bold stand that Iraq is a country awash in sectarian violence.
Also, as I noted earlier, the point about five provinces is misleading. Those provinces contain the nation's capital and more than half of Iraq's population. Imagine a comparable situation in the US. If the government said 41 out of 50 states are safe and the unsafe states were California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, and Massachusetts, plus the District of Columbia, that would be roughly half the US population plus the nation's capital. No one would be reassured.