Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Update on the Trend in Iraq: Bad News

Last week, I posted this picture:

A few commenters focused on the fact that there seems to be a slight downtrend in the last few months and suggested that maybe the surge is starting to work. Unfortunately, it turns out that they were wrong. April and May were the deadliest two months for American troops since the start of the war.

Let us hope that Bush gets over his denial and the Democrats find their balls.

(HT: Stephen Pelz)


jewish philosopher said...

It's always easier to start a war than it is to stop it. A little like marriage.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, but did you read the article itself, and not just the headline? If you're going to quote the Pentagon on what has happened you should at least quote them on why it is happening -

"The rising number of casualties coincides with the addition of at least 28,000 U.S. troops in Iraq as part of the U.S.-led security plan. That plan, which includes moving troops from fortified bases to closer contact with Iraqi civilians and insurgents, has contributed to the higher casualties, said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq...Caldwell said the violence will continue as U.S. forces keep challenging the insurgents, but he expects casualties "to come down from the levels of engagements we're having now.""

More people are getting harmed because they're being put in harm's way as part of a deliberate strategy to smoke out the enemy, in other words.

I was sceptical about drawing conclusions from the earlier post, pointing out that one or two month's data just isn't enough to extrapolate a long term trend from. I stand by that assessment now, and strongly recommend you bear it in mind and not get swept away just because you are seeing what you expect to see ("double loop learning", and all that...).

In any case, you're not comparing like with like. The previous post was calculating total number of attacks, whereas this is only calculating fatalities. It's perfectly possible there are fewer attacks overall but those attacks have got more deadly, whether because of the previously mentioned increased exposure or any other of a host of reasons.


Ezzie said...

Random nailed it. JA - you really blew this post, sorry. Firstly, exactly what he said about the article. Second, he makes a great point regarding the drop in attacks as compared to the increase in close combat (which leads to great fatalities). If anything, you've shown exactly why the war is necessary: By putting pressure on, you continue to decrease terror attacks. Nice.