Disappointing the Wapo and NY Times, violence declines in Iraq
So in the last few days WaPo ran a story asserting that "the debate is over" and the Iraqi Civil War is officially raging, and the NYT ran a story claiming that "by almost all measures," Iraq's insurgency is getting worse. So how is it that people in Baghdad are telling ABC News that they feel safer than they've felt in a long time?There is more. Kudos to ABC for noticing. The reason for the decline is one that I have pointed out several times in dealing with insurgencies such as Iraq. You increase the force to space ratio in the area they want to operate in and you shut them down. That is what has happened in Baghdad. What is not clear is why the Cencom commanders have been reluctant to do this sooner. I believe the insurgency could have been defeated sooner if we had devoted this kind of resources to the areas of the country where the enemy wanted to operate. He is now down to trying to survive in Baghdad and Ramadi. We should flood the zone in both places.
“I’m happy because we’re safe,” said a man who lives in Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood. “Stores are open and we can move around freely.”
Turns out that, news of the Apocalypse notwithstanding, there's apparently been a significant decline in Baghdad street violence this month, including both criminal and political attacks. At least that's what U.S. and Iraqi officials are claiming. While it's reasonable to take a skeptical view of such claims like these, it's just as reasonable to be skeptical of the U.S. media's reports about the state of the city. As for me, I put my bet on the Baghdadis.
Here's what's going on. The U.S. military has increased its presence in Baghdad in order to rein in the murders, kidnappings and other criminal violent activity that has been plaguing the capital. (This security program does not address car bombings.) Some 5,000 extra troops moved in two weeks ago, and joined with thousands of Iraqi troops to do door-to-door sweeps in a series of dangerous neighborhoods.