Iraq, November 2007

Two months of low US and coalition casualties in a row. Apparently, the Iraqi casualties have also been low. I don’t graph the Iraqi military, police, or civilian casualties because I don’t know of a source for such data that is comparable in coverage and accuracy to

There’s no question that most of the news from Iraq has improved. But to paint as rosy a picture as Charles Krauthammer did a recent column, is certainly premature, if not dishonest. Here is his opening paragraph:

It does not have the drama of the Inchon landing or the sweep of the Union comeback in the summer of 1864. But the turnabout of American fortunes in Iraq over the past several months is of equal moment -- a war seemingly lost, now winnable. The violence in Iraq has been dramatically reduced. Political allegiances have been radically reversed. The revival of ordinary life in many cities is palpable. Something important is happening.

It’s true that the violence has been dramatically reduced, but not for the past several months, just for the past two months. Does Krauthammer think we can’t look at the figures ourselves? I understand why the right wing wants to jump on any good news it finds; they’ve been forced to fabricate good news for a few years. But declaring a turnaround after only two good months is an insult to his readers.

(His use of the word “turnabout” is interesting, though. A turnabout from what? Hasn’t he been declaring the situation “winnable” all along? Is this an admission that his previous cheerleading for the war was bullshit?)

I know the right wing doesn’t believe this, but the war’s opponents don’t want more US casualties to “prove” that we were right. We were right, we are right, and we don’t need or want more US deaths to prove it. Our position has been proven many times over by the nonexistent WMDs, the fracturing of the Iraqi state, the length and cost of the occupation, the failure of Iraq’s oil to pay for the reconstruction, and the resurgence of the Taliban after we dropped Afghanistan to pursue Iraq. We simply want the troops out because they don’t belong there.

But until they’re out, we’ll take what good news we can get and hope that it continues. I would happily read a thousand dishonestly triumphant Krauthammer columns if US casualties would continue to drop.