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Iraq’s current status in graph form
Posted by: McQ on Monday, December 17, 2007

For those of you who're interested but have been unable to get a current update through the MSM:

 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
This obviously shows that from MoveOn.org’s point of view, General Petraeus did betray them.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
While these numbers are good, and all seems nice, id much rather see the number of thwarted attacks on top of this. If i was a terrorist, id of figured out to stop attacking now as well, and wait till we leave, then pick back up. Which is why there is no such thing as a military victory in Iraq, it must be a political one.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
QUAGMIRE! CIVIL WAR!!!

(Just for old times sake, the silence from the usual suspects is deafening)
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Look if you want to use the discredited methods of Dead White European Males, reason, evidence, and the like, to support your rapacious need for the blood of Brown People at least of the good sense to include the graph of the decline of American Power along side these other so-called "facts." Why do you Republicans LOVE war so much...no wonder you all scare Elizabeth Edwards.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Thanks for the graphs. I find the fact that there was in fact an increase in attacks around the time of Ramadan again this year to be telling. It wasn’t as noticable as in the past years but you can see a small blip, where the downward trend pauses briefly before continuing to drop like a rock.
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
Joe writes:
at least [have] the good sense to include the graph of the decline of American Power along side these other so-called "facts."
That’s not something you can put on a graph, silly boy. You can only understand that if you’ve been following international relations as a professional and can cite the irrefutable "most scholars" and "most workers in the field" and even "most scientists" (if we’re talking about the impact on American power of being responsible for global warming. Only an experienced professional can tell you what the famous and infalible "They" of the well-known cadre of experts usually just cited as "They say" understand about something like the decline of American Power. Leave that kind of heavy lifting to the professionals, silly boy.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
These graphs track 100% with my experience in Iraq. Below is what I wrote in to our local paper when I got back (still trying to get them to publish it)...

There are many experiences and accomplishments I have achieved during my military career. I have survived arguably the worst submarine collision in the history of the nuclear submarine force (USS SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 8, 2005), qualified Submarine Warfare, and was certified as a Nuclear Engineer. But it is my time in Iraq that I want to discuss. I will preface this by saying that what follows represent my own views and not those of the Department of Defense or the US Navy.
I recently returned from a ten-month tour in Kirkuk, Iraq for which I had volunteered. I was assigned as a battalion electronic warfare officer. My time was spent installing and fixing the electronic jamming systems in vehicles to counter the Radio-controlled IEDs as well as training the soldiers to use their systems. But my other primary responsibility was quantitative trend analysis of IED events, so when I discuss how the fight is going it is based on actual numbers and not on anecdotal data or rhetoric. Also, due to concerns of operational security, I will not discuss actual enemy tactics or specific numbers but instead will only cover the broad trends. My last disclaimer is that I can only speak firsthand for what I saw in my area of operations (Kirkuk, Iraq) during my time in country (Dec 2006-Oct 2007). I will, however, include various reports from my peers around the Iraq theatre.
The first topic I want to cover is the question of whether or not we are winning the war in Iraq. I would have to say the answer is unequivocally YES, we are winning. When I first arrived in Kirkuk, we received mortar fire every night, had multiple vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs, also known as car bombs) weekly and there were MANY, MANY IED events on a daily basis. When I left, there hadn’t been a VBIED in over a month, we hadn’t been mortared in weeks and the IED events were down to a handful a day. And if there was ever an area ripe for sectarian violence, it would have been Kirkuk. With a mixture of Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Turk omen, Assyrian and other smaller sects, Kirkuk is truly a melting pot and a majority of the violence was correlated to insurgent activities vice sectarian acts. A friend of mine served with a Marine unit in the Anbar province at the same time I was in Kirkuk and told me he would have felt completely comfortable walking through the town with no armor at all. The country is not in a civil war. Those who claim we are losing either aren’t talking to those coming back from Iraq or are blinded by rhetoric.
The second point I would like to discuss is the criticism of the progress of the Iraq government. The national government of Iraq has exhibited many shortcomings. Oil revenue sharing and the referendum on the status of Kirkuk are but two examples. But what must be remembered is that these people have gone from a dictatorship to fledgling democracy in the span of less than four years. I find it brazenly hypocritical of those who criticize the Iraq government when our own Congress has been paralyzed by partisan politics on both sides. The people of Iraq want to succeed and this can be seen best at the local level. Neighborhood watch programs are keeping the streets safe. Human intelligence reports from locals leading to cache and IED discoveries as well as arrests of insurgents continue to increase in frequency. Given time and our support, the people of Iraq will choose freedom just as we did.
Lastly, I want to discuss the support of the troops. It has been great and for that, I thank all of you. Every person I have run into who has learned that I served in Iraq has thanked me for what I do. All I can ask is that you try to get that message to the troops currently deployed. Write a letter. Send a care package. But make sure the men and women overseas know you support them. And by the way, if you tell someone who has a loved one overseas that you are proud of them and thank them, believe me, that message will make it to the troops.
The argument of whether or not we were right to remove Saddam Hussein and his government has its place in the halls of academia. But this argument does not reflect reality in the present moment. We are there and cannot just simply pick up and go. The instability that we have seen in Iraq in recent years is our doing. We caused this. To leave now would not only be a tactical error which could lead to a power vacuum in the region. But we now have a moral obligation to ensure the success of Iraq as a free and democratic state, to finish what we started. I just ask that you let us win.

Lieutenant Matthew R, USN
 
Written By: matt
URL: http://
Martin, thank you, I see now...

Lt.Matthew R. thank you for your service.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Lieutenant R, in your experience of the Iraqi people — of whatever ethnic or religious group — would you say that they are at least ready to give elections and rule of law a chance? Or do you think that they would prefer another dictatorship, though perhaps one that treated them a little better?

And I would be interested in any more general impression that you have of Iraqis.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
To Martin McPhillips,
A majority of the Iraqi people (remember, I spent most of my time between Kirkuk and Irbil, two cities in the Northern Autonomous Region) jumped at the chance of self-government. They still have some flaws, but have made huge leaps in only 4 years. I can tell you for a fact that we are VERY well liked and definitely seen as liberators up in Irbil. And from what my brother says (a Marine just outside Fallujah) the feeling is similar out west. Can’t speak for Baghdad or southern Iraq since I’ve never been there.

As for general impression, on most levels they aren’t that much different from most of us. They want to find a good job and raise their families, just like every other parent I know. Obviously, they aren’t as tech saavy as the average American, but the younger generation is picking it up pretty quick. As their education improves, so will the quality of their daily lives. I really hope they can cash in on all the oil they are sitting on. It will give them a chance to improve infrastructure and education and put them on the right track wrt economy.

V/r,
LT R
 
Written By: matt
URL: http://
LT R, that’s a positive assessment of the people the we are trying to help.

Do you have any comment on U.S. forces, as to whether experience gained in the Iraqi theatre will provide our military, going out, with a superior, average, or diminished officer corps? Have we taken a leap forward or a leap backward as a modern military?

If we had another situation similar to Iraq thrown at us, would we be ready to deal with it, from the officer and NCO leadership perspective? (Assuming that we add sufficient troops to be led.)
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Less Iraqis are dying for no good reason than ever before! Or, less than at any time since 2005, we mean! Down to 600 attacks per week! Hooray! We win! Time to send the troops home. And throw a parade!
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Martin McPhillips,
As a disclaimer, I was a Nuclear Officer on a submarine in the Navy (who happened to volunteer for my tour in Iraq, took me months to get that billet), not an infantry officer, so take my assessment with a grain of salt. I would say that we are rapidly gaining valuable experience with counterinsurgency operations in both urban and rural environments. Whether or not the next battle will be against an insurgency vice a more conventional force is beyond me. What the Army is learning though is how to deal with long-term deployments (something the Navy had to learn decades ago), especially leadership and personnel management/psychology in a combat zone. So from that perspective they have gained a level of combat experience that our forces haven’t had since Vietnam.

LT R
 
Written By: matt
URL: http://
Less Iraqis are dying for no good reason than ever before!
Heh ... so you’re reduced to this?

Nice. And so telling ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Iraq’s current status in graph form
Really? This is Iraq’s current status?

Why is the only metric the current levels of violence? Where is the graph on political reconciliation? Where is the graph on efforts at re-intergration of now ethnically cleansed neighborhoods? Or the graph on efforts to restore property to owners who were forced out to abandon their property in the face of sectarian violence?

Yes, the killing is down. But that’s hardly surprising. Killings go down after ethnic cleansing, at least in the short term.

But what evidence is there that violence won’t once again go up? Are communities reintergrating? Where is the evidence that the main power brokers are prepared to reconcile?

And then there is this - from today’s Guardian:
The full scale of the chaos left behind by British forces in Basra was revealed yesterday as the city’s police chief described a province in the grip of well-armed militias strong enough to overpower security forces and brutal enough to behead women considered not sufficiently Islamic.

As British forces finally handed over security in Basra province, marking the end of 4½ years of control in southern Iraq, Major General Jalil Khalaf, the new police commander, said the occupation had left him with a situation close to mayhem. "They left me militia, they left me gangsters, and they left me all the troubles in the world," he said in an interview for Guardian Films and ITV.

Khalaf painted a very different picture from that of British officials who, while acknowledging problems in southern Iraq, said yesterday’s handover at Basra airbase was timely and appropriate.

Major General Graham Binns, who led British troops into the city in 2003, said the province had "begun to regain its strength". He added: "I came to rid Basra of its enemies and I now formally hand Basra back to its friends."

But in the film, to be broadcast on the Guardian Unlimited website and ITV News, Khalaf lists a catalogue of failings, saying:

· Basra has become so lawless that in the last three months 45 women have been killed for being "immoral" because they were not fully covered or because they may have given birth outside wedlock;

· The British unintentionally rearmed Shia militias by failing to recognise that Iraqi troops were loyal to more than one authority;

· Shia militia are better armed than his men and control Iraq’s main port.
45 women had their heads chopped off in 90 days because they weren’t sufficiently covered or because they bore children? The MSM doesn’t report this either, but that fact does not seem to get wingnuts upset.

And that’s just Basra. And Basra is largely free of inter-sectarian conflict.

But what is there is a well-entrenched militia not apparently answerable to the central government, one with a stranglehold over the main port in Iraq. And apparently one bent on the imposition of Sharia law.

And again, that’s just Basra. And there appears to be little reason to believe that this situation will change anytime soon. The central government does not seem intent on taking power from the militias.

On top of all that, the Iraqi parliament today condemned the Turkish Air Force for its bombing of terrorist camps in Northern Iraq. So let’s get absolutely straight about this: Americans are dying to protect a government that tolerates the beheading of women who do not wear the veil, and to protect a government that condemns our NATO ally for killing terrorists who have killed innocent civillians.

Remind me again: why are we fighting to protect a government that is allied with terrorists and sadists who behead women for giving birth to children? Please explain this. C’mon you war supporters - explain why we are defending a government that condemns our NATO ally for protecting itself from terrorists.

Oh, and as an aside, looks like the rumble between the Sunni militias and the Shia government might just be getting started. From Reuters on Monday:
* NEAR BAIJI - Two policemen were killed and four Awakening members were wounded when clashes erupted between policemen and Awakening members in a town west of Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
Great.

Again, please explain why we are defending a government that criticizes our long time ally for protecting itself from terrorists.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
mkultra
Iraq is now significantly less violent than say South Africa
Are you calling for the ANC to pull out of there?
 
Written By: emmess
URL: http://

 
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