Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Iraq Index Today

Here's the May 29 version from Brookings. It's interesting--lots of the tables haven't been updated recently. I suspect it's because people have lost interest in the subject. (The people at Brookings just assembled data from various governments and organizations, they didn't do research themselves.)

The headline news is, of course, the 19 U.S. deaths in May are a low for the war since the first year. And there's been several optimistic articles and op-eds in the past few weeks, even though most of them don't get the attention of the past. I don't think that's liberal bias particularly--it's mostly the idea that conflict and bad news is lots more newsworthy than good news. It is true, though, that we liberals have a hard time fitting the news into our overall narrative so it's often easy to ignore.

Personally, I've a bureaucratic narrative--there's a learning curve, it's taken us 4-5 years to learn, but we're at last much improved over what we were at first. (You can see this in Vietnam, the last few years under Abrams were much more effective than the first years under Westmoreland.)

A couple factoids, without links: NYTimes had an article on the US prisons in Iraq--we're holding over 20,000 prisoners, of which about 1 percent are foreign. It's possible we killed most of the people who were willing to come to Iraq and die, or people just got tired after so many years, but it doesn't fit with a war against international terrorism. Attacks against oil infrastructure are way down this year--good news for the Iraqi economy and for our gas prices.

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