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Iraqi Violence is Down
Old 12-20-2007, 07:59 PM   #1
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Iraqi Violence is Down

There's still a lot of killing and violence in Iraq, but it may be useful to recognize successes when we have them. The number of attacks in Iraq (not just in Baghdad, but in the whole country) is now at approximately 1/3 of the peak rate experienced there (in the summer of this year). In addition to the number of attacks, the severity of the attacks has also diminished, and the number of deaths in these attacks (US forces, Iraqi forces, and civilians) is now approx 20% of what it was at the peak (again, in the summer of 2007).

There are other causes for optimism as the violence abates. Many Iraqis, once unsure of the US commitment to Iraq and unwilling to bet the lives of their families by picking sides, appear to be turning against extremists of various stripes in larger numbers. "Awakening Councils" are taking action against the radical militias. The Awakening Councils are firmly established in many former Sunni strongholds, and are now gaining ground in Shia areas.

Yep, there's lot of work to be done on the political and economic fronts in Iraq, but the improved security situation is a necessary precursor to progress there (and security progress likewise depends on continued political and economic forward movement).

The holidays are a tough time for troops stationed away from their families, especially in a combat zone. We all want them home at the earliest opportunity. Whether you believe they should never have gone, should come home next week, or should stay until a future objective is reached in Iraq, it's important to step back from the daily video clips from Baghdad to realize that the forces there have done some truly great work.

Link to the charts and numbers.
Iraq by the numbers: Graphing the decrease in violence - The Long War Journal
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:15 PM   #2
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I don't know if it's true, but I've heard that much of the reduction in violence is due to Iran reining in their bomb exports to Iraq.

From last month:

US sees decline in Iran-linked bombs found in Iraq | Reuters

He said he understood that, behind the scenes, the Iranians had given assurances to Iraq that the flow of arms would stop.

"I don't know whether to believe them. I'll wait and see," Gates said.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:12 PM   #3
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General David Petrayus has certainly earned "the person of the year" in my book and it'd be great to have someone like this on either party's ticket for president.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:44 AM   #4
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It may very well be true and, if so, that is a good thing. But it essentially moving toward a de-facto partition, ala the Biden proposal. If we are successful in partitioning Iraq and get a more stable situation - then great, we have to get out somehow and that is far better than a bloodbath. But it will not erase the fact that this war was a huge blunder biased on lies and hubris and we will still be facing one of the greatest setbacks in US world standing in our history.
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by twaddle View Post
I don't know if it's true, but I've heard that much of the reduction in violence is due to Iran reining in their bomb exports to Iraq.
That might be, but a determined enemy with the support of the local citizenry wouldn't be stopped by not receiving explosives from an outside source. There are many ways to commit violence without the use of military ordinance.
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:54 AM   #6
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Hmmm - Mr - I shall go to Korea- Ike won the election over Adlai waaaay back when. I don't recall Mr Grumpy's reaction - it's probably in the archives of the Truman Library down the road.

Still in Korea/still a Democrat with gun and would have voted to go into Iraq.

History is strange.

heh heh heh - right or wrong - here's to yellow dogs and Democrats. All four of my relatives in uniform are stateside this year - knock on wood.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:01 AM   #7
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Let's retire makes a very good point, and one that I have believed for a long time. Any insergency survives or fails depending on the average citizenry's desire to accept, or reject it. Those who are making roadside bombs are certainly "known" by others in the community. These people need to eat, sleep, and have a place to be at night, and during the day.
I think that the reason for the decrease in insurgency is that slowly but surely people have had enough of their neighborhoods being blown up. There comes a point as an Iraqi citizen where even if you hate the americans being there, you come to understand that the US is NOT blowing up cars in their neighborhoods. There comes a point when even though you might not trust the american soldiers, you begin to trust the terrorists even less. I think that as time goes on the average iraqi will come to see that as bombings go down, the quality of their lives will improve. That is just the snowball effect that we so desperately need over there right now.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by twaddle View Post
I don't know if it's true, but I've heard that much of the reduction in violence is due to Iran reining in their bomb exports to Iraq.
Like all good marketing, the reduction is largely due to changing the definition of what constitutes an "attack". This constantly shifting definition allows the tailoring of the stats to suit whatever demand is presented. If we want to show we're doing a good job, attacks go down. If we need more troops or money, attacks go up.

Right now, in the cases of someone throwing a grenade at a group of people without any major injury being suffered, or someone shooting at someone and missing...those are not considered "attacks".

A couple of years ago, they were.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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And apparently those clever marketers have re-spun the death count to show an 80% reduction, too. Maybe individuals that were formerly counted as "dead" are now counted as "less metabolically active" and have their own category.

"If ya 'adn't nailed im to the perch 'ed be pushing up the daisies!"
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:53 AM   #10
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I love that Dead Parrot Sketch...

It's not pining, it's passed on. This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late parrot. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:59 AM   #11
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And apparently those clever marketers have re-spun the death count to show an 80% reduction, too.
And I thought they didn't even keep an official Iraqi death count, that's why we don't know if 50,000 or 1,000,000 Iraqis have died as a result of this.

They also don't talk much about the 2 million people who have fled the country, maybe that's why there's less violence, the neighborhoods are being changed to all Sunni or all Shia when they used to be a mixture. Maybe when everyone has finally left, the violence will go down to 0.
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Old 12-21-2007, 11:28 AM   #12
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I dont know about that Sam, I havent checked to see which dead people they're counting now and which ones they were counting before.

Based on the funny business I've seen with the war stats, my bet is that methodology persists on a broad basis.

Note that i'm not looking to bash anyone or any party in particular, or criticize the war or even harm the troops. I'm simply pointing out that faux statistics have been heavily used in this campaign to say what some people wanted to hear or to support a particular agenda.

Thats all fine, and it happens all the time in many aspects of our lives. But its useful for smart people to know when they're being tweaked.
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Old 12-21-2007, 11:39 AM   #13
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Thats all fine, and it happens all the time in many aspects of our lives. But its useful for smart people to know when they're being tweaked.
Agreed. What is actually being measured and the assumptions being made are important, and often overlooked. I do remember a "re-definition" of what constituted an "attack," but I can't recall the timing. IIRC, it was approx 18 months ago.
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Old 12-21-2007, 12:17 PM   #14
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I dont know about that Sam, I havent checked to see which dead people they're counting now and which ones they were counting before.

Based on the funny business I've seen with the war stats, my bet is that methodology persists on a broad basis.

Note that i'm not looking to bash anyone or any party in particular, or criticize the war or even harm the troops. I'm simply pointing out that faux statistics have been heavily used in this campaign to say what some people wanted to hear or to support a particular agenda.

Thats all fine, and it happens all the time in many aspects of our lives. But its useful for smart people to know when they're being tweaked.
Best recent example of reduced violence and why it appears true IMHO is that even the Communist News Network (CNN) reported on an IED explosion today on a British convoy that caused no Deaths or even serious injuries. Bomb, Brits not Americans, no deaths or injuries...Kinda shows they are struggling to come up with bad news. Gee I wonder what there motives could be

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Old 12-21-2007, 07:37 PM   #15
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Agreed. What is actually being measured and the assumptions being made are important, and often overlooked. I do remember a "re-definition" of what constituted an "attack," but I can't recall the timing. IIRC, it was approx 18 months ago.
That sounds about right. I think rally around ones beliefs are one thing. Making sure you know where the headlines come from is a bit more important.
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