Thursday, November 22, 2007

Drumbeat of Good News: The Surge is Working

Just one article, typical of many others:
Violence in Iraq has fallen at a rate that has surprised military commanders and even one of the architects of the “surge” that boosted US troop numbers in the country this year, according to figures gathered by the US.

The figures show the numbers of suicide attacks, roadside bombings, mortar and other attacks on US forces and on the Iraqi population have more than halved since 30,000 extra troops in June.

Jack Keane, the former army general who helped persuade George W. Bush, US president, to increase troop numbers in Iraq, said the decrease in violence was “phenomenal” and had occurred far faster than he had expected.

“When you understand you are dealing with the complexity of a counter-insurgency operation which can take years to resolve, to have this dramatic a success in a short period of time, it’s unprecedented,” he said.

The US military says the number of civilian deaths has also fallen 60 per cent since the surge took effect, with a drop of 75 per cent in Baghdad. According to icasualties.org, the average monthly US death toll dropped from 96 for the first half of 2007 to 66 in the past four months. The average monthly death toll for Iraqi civilians and security forces has dropped from 2,157 to 1,223 in the same period.

Stephen Biddle, former adviser to General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, said the most important factor was the spread of ceasefire agreements. He said the “key challenge” now was to make sure they could be adequately policed.

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