Strange Progress

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Newseek takes a healthy skeptical look at the surge:

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in July was slightly higher than in February, when the surge began. According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has more than doubled to 1.1 million since the beginning of the year, nearly 200,000 of those in Baghdad governorate alone. [...]

When Gen. David Petraeus goes before Congress next week to report on the progress of the surge, he may cite a decline in insurgent attacks in Baghdad as one marker of success. In fact, part of the reason behind the decline is how far the Shiite militias' cleansing of Baghdad has progressed: they've essentially won.

Maybe Bush can change his line to the idea that if we just keep staying the course for 4 or 5 more years, casualties will drop massively because everyone will already be dead or displaced. Or maybe someone can explain to me again about how we can't leave Iraq because of the ethnic cleansing that'll happen without us around.

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

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