IRAQ UPDATE….I was on vacation at the beginning of January and then forgot to post this last week, but I said a while back that I’d revisit Iraq civilian casualty figures once a month, so here are December’s ending results. My erstwhile sparring partner Engram has pretty clean numbers, so I’m reproducing his chart on the right.

I don’t have a lot of new commentary to add to this. There are probably several reasons for the decline in violence, but certainly the surge is responsible for much of it. This is good news.

At the same time, there’s still not even a glimmer of hope on the political reconciliation front. In fact, if anything, things seem to have retrogressed a bit, and this is distinctly bad news — especially with the surge about to wind down and the “breathing space” it provided probably coming to an end. Unless something changes pretty quickly, it’s looking more and more as if the surge simply isn’t going to be a success on its own terms.

On the other hand, John McCain thinks it’s OK if we stay in Iraq for a hundred years. So the day is still young.

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