Stagnation

iraqiforcesslide.png

Here's another one of the slides from the Crocker/Petraeus presentation. At first glance, it appears to show impressive progress starting in March 2007. Look more closely at the bars, though, and you'll see that the top segment of each bar is an essentially meaningless category -- "unit forming." The real meat is in those tiny green bars representing Iraqi units capable of operating independently of US forces. Here, we saw considerable progress between March 2006 and November 2006, followed by a steady decline running through June 2007, and now things have ticked up again a bit so that we're essentially back to where we were a year ago.

Not only is there no progress here, but the absolute numbers in question are tiny so even if things were to pick up, we'd still be years and years and years away from this policy succeeding.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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