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August 03, 2007

Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

So the Bush Administration's latest talking point for why the surge is working is that American casualties were down in July.  Unfortunately, they really weren't.  Casualties in July were exactly the same as they were in both February and March of this year and two less than they were in January.  In other words, casualties in July are where they were at the beginning of the "surge" and somehow this is a sign that the "surge" is working.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that the lazy media decided to start analyzing these numbers on August 1.  Anyone, who has followed these numbers knows that there is a time lag for reporting casualties because the Pentagon always notifies families and loved ones first, before they publicly release information.  So all the preliminary reports about how this is the lowest level of fatalities since November 2006 were just wrong.


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As a metric, and considering the paucity of mortalities in this conflict in general, perhaps our own body count isn't the best way to determine whether the so-called "Surge" is working or not.

I won't begin to discuss the tactics of COIN, and how they apply to the Baghdad, Diyalah and Samarrah operations with our self-proclaimed military experts at Democracy Arsenal, except to suggest that a handful of deaths one way or the other aren't exactly leading indicators of success or failure.

Come to think of it, in COIN tidy notions of "success" or "fail" also become relative terms.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

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