In the Arena

Iraq in Perspective

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The New York Times reports real progress in Iraq over the past few months. But 575 attacks a week averages out to better than 80 attacks a day. Back in 2005, when I was first contacted by intelligence officers who were disgusted with the Bush Administration’s handling of the war, they cited the level of violence–80 attacks a day!–as evidence that things had spun totally out of control.
Now, it may well be that the 80 attacks now are less lethal than the 80 a day were in 2005. Remember, any stray bullet constitutes an “attack.” I’d be interested to know how the level of what the military calls “effective attacks”–that is, attacks with casualties or attacks that require a kinetic response–compares to 2005. My guess–given that the Sunni insurgency has pretty much collapsed–is that it would be lower, but who knows?

OOOPs: The link above was to a similar story in the Washington Post–which sort of makes the point that life in Iraq is still pretty dangerous. Here’s the New York Times piece.