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A reader makes an obvious point that I'd overlooked:

I would like to point out that the statistics on sectarian killings should go down as the number of Iraqi refugees increases and as the country moves ever so closer to de facto partition. No one really seems to be bringing this into the equation.

If, what is it, 50,000 Iraqis are being displaced every month, one would assume that the bulk of this is movement out of mixed Sunni-Shia areas or neighborhoods. Again the bulk of sectarian killings are probably for the purpose of ethnically cleansing a neighborhood. So, over time, these killings will likely decrease. However, as should be obvious to anyone viewing the problem sensibly, this is not an indicator that things have somehow improved.

When someone starts counting the number of refugees returning to Iraq, or the number of Iraqis returning to their former homes, I'll then believe the surge is working. Not as long as people are on the run for their lives. I guess I will need to wait a very long time.

(Photo: sectarian carnage in Baquba by Ali Yussef/AFP/Getty.)

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