Saturday, April 08, 2006

CFR Iraq Update

Spin, spin, spin...

If I have seen the numbers once I have seen them cited a dozen times: Casualties are trending down, therefore we must be doing something right! Woo-hoo! Get 'em, boys!

Sorry, folks. That dog won't hunt.

Good news from Iraq seems hard to come by these days. Growing militia violence (TIME) and the lack of progress in forming a government paint a bleak picture. Thus, it might be easy to overlook the fact that fewer U.S. troops have been dying (NPR) in recent months. This is partly because insurgents have begun to concentrate on non-U.S. targets, and partly because U.S. forces have become less exposed. Writing in the Sacramento Bee, conservative columnist William F. Buckley says reduced exposure "can be seen as the military voting with their feet to begin withdrawal."

In fact, the slowing U.S. casualty rate may well be the result of shifting strategies among both U.S. and insurgent forces. For its part, the insurgency appears to be attacking Iraqi targets with more frequency (NYT). With more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers already dead, inflicting more casualties on the increasingly secure American forces is not likely to chase out the "occupiers." On the other hand, as AEI's Reuel Marc Gerecht writes in the Wall Street Journal, the fault lines among Iraq's leadership appear to be growing. If the insurgency can continue to fuel the recent rise in sectarian violence, which was highlighted by an April 7 mosque bombing in Baghdad (BBC), it may well succeed in driving Iraq into chaos. Speaking to's Bernard Gwertzman, New York Times chief military correspondent Michael Gordon says the prospect of civil war can't be ruled out. In the midst of all of this are reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, may have been demoted (CSMonitor).

Lots more links at the site, if the reader has time for drilling.

No comments: