Monday, October 1, 2007

Violence Down Dramatically in Iraq in September

I remember back in the beginning of 2003, Democrats claimed that we had a jobless recovery. All of our economic numbers were better however up to the middle of 2003 at least, our economy continued to lose jobs. That all ended in July of 2003, when our economy gained jobs for the first time and didn't stop for four years and counting.
In a similar way, anti war types have claimed that violence is not down and have used year over year comparisons to make that claim. In other words, even though violence has continued to drop from May through August, it has continued to be higher compared to the same time last year, and thus the anti war folks have maintained that violence is in fact on the rise. That narrative comes crashing to a halt with the very latest September numbers.

Deaths among American forces and Iraqi civilians fell dramatically last month to
their lowest levels in more than a year, according to figures compiled by the
U.S. military, the Iraqi government and The Associated Press.

The decline signaled a U.S. success in bringing down violence in Baghdad
and surrounding regions since Washington completed its infusion of 30,000 more
troops on June 15.

A total of 64 American forces died in September — the lowest monthly toll
since July 2006.
The decline in Iraqi civilian deaths was even more dramatic,
falling from 1,975 in August to 922 last month, a decline of 53.3 percent. The
breakdown in September was 844 civilians and 78 police and Iraqi soldiers,
according to Iraq's ministries of Health, Interior and Defense.

In August, AP figures showed 1,809 civilians and 155 police and Iraqi
soldiers were killed in sectarian violence.

The civilian death toll has not been so low since June 2006, when 847 Iraqis

These numbers are even more impressive for several more reasons. As to our own soldiers deaths, many surge critics claimed that more troops meant more troops to shoot at. Thus, they are not only down but considering that there are about 25% more troops in the field the numbers are even more impressive. Second, Al Qaed claimed that September would be their own Tet offensive. Here is an example of the violence they hoped to cause.

Dozens of fighters linked to al-Qaida in Iraq streamed into Shiite villages
north of Baghdad today, torching homes and killing at least 15 people before
Iraqi police and defiant residents drove them away, police and army officials

In all, at least 41 people were killed or found dead nationwide — including
nine shot by security contractors in Baghdad, police said, and five who died
when a booby-trapped bicycle exploded near a cafe serving tea and food during
Ramadan fasting hours.

The bloodshed came the day after al-Qaida in Iraq announced a new offensive
in the Islamic holy month and was a blow to government hopes that a peaceful
Ramadan would demonstrate the success of the seven-month operation in the

Clearly, the offensive failed. Deaths in Iraq fell below 1000 for the first time since June 2006. While the enemy remains ever deadly, there is a story from Sunday that should put the the numbers into perspective

Over the weekend, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed more than 60 insurgent and
militia fighters in intense battles, with most of the casualties believed to
have been al-Qaida fighters, officials said.
U.S. aircraft killed more than
20 Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters who opened fire on an American air patrol northwest
of Baghdad, the U.S. command said Sunday.
The firefight between U.S. aircraft
and the insurgent fighters occurred Saturday about 17 miles northwest of the
capital, the military said

Thus, in one weekend, the U.S. military killed as many bad guys as got killed in the entire month in Iraq. That is a staggering total and really can not be spun. It was a very good month for the good guys in Iraq and a very bad month for the bad guys in September.

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