Dean Barnett has taken on the onerous task of monitoring the casualty figures from Iraq at Icasualties.org. Not a fun job, but it has enabled Dean to identify trends that aren’t being widely reported, and which back up the claims of progress made last week by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. A couple of paragraphs:
At the height of pre-surge anarchy, Iraq suffered roughly 3,000 civilian deaths a month because of what we’ll call the civil war. Over the previous few months, the surge reduced the monthly butcher’s bill to around 1500 civilians a month, a statistical reality that complemented the anecdotal data brought back by the Michael Yons, Bill Roggios, Jeff Emmanuels, and Bill Ardolinos of the world.
The numbers are still improving. The last half of August was by Iraqi standards markedly superior to any time span since the civil war began. In September, that trend has continued. So far this month, 406 Iraqi civilians and security force members have died as a result of the civil war. This puts September roughly on a pace to see 700 Iraqi casualties. That’s fewer than 25% the pre-surge level of violence and will be the least since Icaualties.org started tracking this statistic in January ’06.
In a wide-ranging post, Dean goes on to talk about the prospects for longer-term success, and offers a reminder of what’s at stake here:
Iraq, if we win, will be different. It will be the first time an Islamic country has coalesced around ideas rather than ethnicity. What are the ideals that the new Iraq will have? Well, they won’t look precisely American. But by regional standards, they will set new marks for progress.
Read the whole thing – Dean’s watching those casualty lists so you don’t have to. But do me a favour: in the course of his post Dean plugs two books by Walid Phares, which you’ll also find advertised on this blog. If you’re thinking of buying them, please bear mind that I need the kickback more than Townhall.com does…