Friday, July 20, 2007
Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood
The level of violence in Iraq is extraordinarily high and this immense level of violence has provided a skewed reflection of progress when measured against previous levels of violence that were sufficient to bring about complete US and Iraqi government strategic mission failure. I bring this point up because there is the predictable, routine bleating of triumph from the warbloggers that are pointing out the fact that attacks against US forces are down in Anbar Province. So let's look at the tape and pull up the recently submitted report by the Pentagon to Congress.
The relevant page is #23 with the following quote: "Attacks in Anbar have dropped from 35 per day in the previous reporting period to just under 26"...[...]
The official statistics are saying that the 'dramatic' improvement in Anbar Province in reducing attacks per day in the single province to 26 [but 26 attacks per day] is more than the number of attacks per day needed in June 2003 across the entire country to force the fragmentation of primary group loyalties and destroy the ability of a modern state to function. Remember there are eighteen provinces, and going back to the DOD report, there are at least five provinces with the same or greater number of attacks per day on average per province greater than the nation wide number of attacks per day in June, 2003.
Reducing the level of violence by 10% nationwide is a positive step in reducing suffering, but it does nothing to further anything that vaguely resembles a US strategic goal. Reducing the level of violence by 25% is a positive step in reducing suffering, but it does nothing to further anything that vaguely resembles a US strategic goal. Reducing the level of violence by 50% nationwide is a positive step in reducing suffering, but it does nothing to further anything that vaguely resembles a US strategic goal.
To have a chance in hell of accomplishing any US strategic goals, the level of violence in Iraq has to decrease by 80 to 90% to return to the June, 2003 levels. Everything else is, unfortunately, statistical noise within a very negative trend line. [emphasis added]
Which is yet one more argument as to why we must remove all of our troops from Iraq over the course of the next 12-18 months. Even the recent progress from the great redemtive Surge - touted as a paradigm shifting success by the pathologically pollyannish - is little more than statistical blip amidst a series of roiling civil wars/insurgencies. We just don't have the means, resources and leverage to bring the levels of violence far enough down to create stability and progress.It is a tragedy, yet it is one that we are now essentially powerless to avert. The way we could have avoided it was to, you know, not invade in the first place. Please keep that in mind the next time you hear the distant rumble of the drums of war growing louder.