Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Iraq: Then and Now, By the Numbers

So you still don't believe how well the war in Iraq is going and still don't believe there is any connection between Iraq and the war against Al Qaeda?

Please to enjoy...

Compliments of Engram at his BackTalk Blog:
Casualties in Iraq: September 2008

Although Barack Obama continues to campaign on the promise that he will "end this war," the American military has apparently beaten him to the punch.
They are, in fact, defeating our adversaries in Iraq in a way that was almost unimaginable back when Obama introduced a bill to begin withdrawing our troops -- thereby accepting defeat -- in January of 2007 (the very first month of the troop surge). Here in September of 2008, civilian casualties in Iraq remain near the lowest levels ever seen, as shown in this annotated chart (with the source of data and essential corrections described here):

As always, the dark purple bars represent the months associated with George Bush's troop surge, and the black bar represents the month in which al Qaeda finally succeeded in its quest to ignite out-of-control sectarian violence by bombing the Golden Mosque. Amazingly, al Qaeda remains the major cause of violence in Iraq today. Although only 268 civilian deaths were recorded by Iraq Coalition Casualty Count for the month of September, approximately 100 of those deaths were attributable to attacks that are typical of al Qaeda (e.g., suicide bombers, parked car bombs). In fact, as best I can tell, virtually all mass casualty attacks in Iraq these days are attributable to al Qaeda. Here is one example:

Iraq Bombings Leave 30 Dead

Blasts Target Policemen in Diyala, Military Personnel in Baghdad

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BAGHDAD, Sept. 15 -- More than 30 people were killed in bombings in Iraq on Monday, including one in Diyala province in which a female suicide bomber attacked policemen gathered to celebrate the release of a fellow officer from a U.S. detention facility, Iraqi officials said.
In Baghdad, twin car bombings near the city's main passport office killed at least 12 people shortly before noon, officials said.
"We currently assess this heinous atrocity as an al-Qaeda in Iraq attack," Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a U.S. military spokesman, said in a statement, referring to the Sunni insurgent group.

Al Qaeda is no longer the extremely potent force it once was in Iraq (not by a long shot), but it is not quite dead yet. Here is what al Qaeda was previously capable of doing (this from back in August of 2007):

Iraqi officials: Truck bombings killed at least 500

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The death toll in the suicide bombings Tuesday in northern Iraq has risen to at least 500, local officials in Nineveh province said Wednesday.
The Tuesday truck bombs that targeted the villages of Qahtaniya, al-Jazeera and Tal Uzair, in northern Iraq near the border with Syria, were a "trademark al Qaeda event" designed to sway U.S. public opinion against the war, a U.S. general said Wednesday.
Al Qaeda in Iraq is predominantly Sunni, and Mixon said members of the Yazidi religious minority have received threatening letters, called "night letters," telling them "to leave because they are infidels."
Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said there were three suicide trucks carrying two tons of explosives. At least 30 houses and other buildings were destroyed.

Through it all, the Democrats have tried to deny any significant role for al Qaeda and to convince the world that the violence in Iraq was nothing more than a civil war. That is, they behaved exactly as al Qaeda hoped they would, and I cannot quite bring myself to forgive them for it. Here is a mind boggling example from May of 2007:

Transcript: Sen. Chris Dodd on 'FOX News Sunday'

Monday, May 07, 2007
WALLACE: Let's talk about one aspect of that. The Democrats now seem in a race to try to come up with a plan to get out of Iraq.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two Al Qaida leader, says the bill that you Democrats sent the president is proof of the American defeat in Iraq. And we'll talk about the details in a moment.

But does your party run the risk of being seen by the American people, as they were after Vietnam, as soft on national security?

DODD: Again, this is a civil war going on in Iraq. This is not the United States versus Al Qaida. It's Shia versus Sunnis tearing each other apart. It's gone on for centuries, but particularly here right now.

The United States is being asked to, in a sense, referee a civil war. And at $2 billion a week, $8 billion a month, Americans believe that we have done all we can possibly do, and Iraqis have to decide whether or not they want to end this civil war and the sectarian violence.

The idea that this is a winnable conflict by the United States -- every military leader from the very outset have said this is not a situation where there's a military victory for us here.

WALLACE: But, Senator, if I can just press this point, though...

DODD: Certainly.

WALLACE: ... Here you have Zawahiri in a video -- he seems to think that Al Qaida has a stake in this fight.

DODD: Well, they may think that, but I'm not going to let my foreign policy be decided by Mr. al-Zawahiri. Obviously, he's playing his game here.

He'd probably like to see us stay down there, bogged down, at the costs we're increasing here, the loss of lives, not to mention the isolation of the United States. The status quo is unacceptable.

Zawahiri was playing a game? In truth, Senator Dodd was playing a game (a political game). And, of course, Barack Obama has long adhered to the same politically convenient fiction:

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Obama: 'We're Not Going To Babysit A Civil War'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration is working to persuade a skeptical Democratic-led Congress to accept the president's announced troop buildup as the last best chance for reversing Iraq's slide into anarchy.

President Bush's new strategy, announced Wednesday in a prime-time address to the nation, increases U.S. forces in Iraq by 21,500 and demands greater cooperation from the Iraqi government.

"We're not going to baby sit a civil war," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told NBC's "Today" Show Thursday. He said the Democratic-controlled Congress would not undercut troops already in Iraq but would explore ways to restrict the president from expanding the mission.

No wonder he wanted to withdraw our troops at the very height of sectarian violence in Iraq. His conception of what was happening was completely wrong, so it made sense in his mind to accept Harry Reid's assertion that "this war is lost" and to withdraw our troops (thereby condemning the innocent people of Iraq to an even more horrible fate). Fortunately, General Petraeus was not as misguided:

The U.S. military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, said on Thursday al Qaeda was bent on committing what he called "sensational" attacks designed to fuel more sectarian violence.

Speaking in Washington, Petraeus said al Qaeda was now "probably public enemy number one" in Iraq.

The results of the general's analysis are plainly apparent in my chart above. They are also evident in this chart of U.S. military casualties from hostile fire:

As I said, Barack Obama will not "end this war" because the U.S. military has pretty much already done so (i.e., they have nearly achieved victory in Iraq).

A few days ago, I analyzed the violent death rate in Iraq relative to the other nations of the world. I used a figure of 575 deaths per month (an estimate of civilian deaths plus deaths of security forces and other combatants). For the last two months, the Associated Press puts the overall number of deaths in Iraq at about 500. Thus, using the most recent months to estimate the annual trend, it seems that my chart is fairly accurate, so I will show it again:

As you can see, Iraq is not the most violent place on earth by any means. Take out mass casualty attacks by al Qaeda (as will eventually happen, I believe) and it will be noticably less violent than Mexico and Russia.

At long last, and as might be expected, the American public is coming around to the idea that the war in Iraq will be successful , a perception that will eventually severely complicate the media's effort to portray George Bush as the "worst president ever:"

War on Terror Update

Plurality, For First Time, Says Iraq War Will Be Judged A Success

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
In a national telephone survey Monday night, 41% said history will rate the war in Iraq a success versus 39% who said it will be seen as a failure, with 20% undecided (see crosstabs). These findings echo those of the previous two weeks (see trends).

By contrast, in August of last year, 57% believed history would judge the U.S. mission in Iraq a failure, and only 29% disagreed.

By August of next year, these numbers will look even better, unless Barack Obama wins and makes good on his stubborn pledge to withdraw U.S. forces regardless of conditions on the ground. But if he does that, failure in Iraq will be his burden to bear, not George Bush's.

-red- Engram is a registered Democrat and research professor who has documented each phase of the Iraq war since the beginning using the liberal left's own data and casualty numbers to demonstrate exactly what went wrong, how the US surge worked, how close we were to losing the war and where we stand today.

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