Friday, August 24, 2007

A Surge of Violence

Kevin Drum of Political Animal writes the post that I wish I wrote. He uses the Brooking Iraq Index, a reasonably trusted and reasonably consistent set of metrics, to compare levels of violence in Iraq during the surge and before the surge. And he is being charitable, in assuming that the surge did not fully start until June, 2007, so he only includes June and July.

Like my post on monthly fatalities, he controls for seasonality (as violence goes up in decent weather, and drops during ugly weather) by looking at year over year levels. I had shown that year over year, the surge was producing significantly more Coalition fatalities:

all seven months of 2007 have seen higher total coalition fatalities than their corresponding month in 2006. Five of the seven months have seen their war to date maximums in 2007.

Kevin found some GOOD NEWS(tm) in the Brookings Institute statistics. The number of multiple fatality bombings has declined by 25%. Great news!

Now for the bad news --- the number of people killed by the fewer multiple casualty bombings has increased by 19%. Remember that his time frame excludes the 500+ killed in the attacks on the Yazdi villages. So the bombing campaigns are becoming more efficient at killing people with fewer successful attacks. And the 'good news' continues --- more US, and Iraqi security forces casualties, more attacks against the infrastructure, talks of coups, less refined petroleum, less electricity and more support for the multiple insurgencies.

If this what success looks like for the political-economic-military strategy that contains the Surge, I do not want to see failure.

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