Friday, August 24, 2007

Debunking Conventional Wisdom in Iraq

It has become Conventional Wisdom that the Surge itself in Iraq is seeing success if only we would be patient and give it a few more Friedman Units. Sure, the CW notes, the Iraqi government is insufficiently subservient but that is nothing a coup or two can't correct. Fortunately, Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly didn't just accept the CW as given but tested it by actually examining the facts. Drum's source is the Brookings Institute Iraq Index. (pdf)

Drum compares the Iraq War in June/July of 2006 with June/July of this year. The only positive he found is that Multiple Fatality Bombings have declined year over year. That joy is undone because these bombing have become significantly more efficient, killing more people in fewer bombings. Rather than having the insurgents "on the run" it indicated that they have become much more skilled in choosing and executing their attacks for maximum carnage.

A few other statistics that Drum did not mention. The number of insurgent attacks (page 30 of the pdf) for the February through May period in 2007 (159.8 attacks per day) has nearly doubled from the same period in 2006 (89.9 attacks per day). The number of Iraq refugees and asylum seekers (page 33) has also nearly doubled, 911,000 people in 2006 and 1.8 million people this year.

The Conventional Wisdom is bullshit; the Iraq War is not going well. The Surge has changed things in Iraq in the same way that stirring a clogged toilet changes the toilet. It is stilled clogged. It is still a smelly, shitty mess. But, it is murkier now and sloshing over the rim.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And, as pointed out on Crooks & Liars, improvemens in the Anbar provence, held up by the President and his obfuscators as a clear sign that the surge is working was actually changing on its own well before a surge was a glimmer in Bush's brain.