Counting Bodies

Musings On Iraq studies March's casualty figures:

The numbers show two important trends in violence in Iraq. First, the insurgents are weakened to the point that they can only carry out a large number of attacks every other month. They then have to take a month to recover and re-supply, which accounts for the previous up and down pattern. Second, casualties are at their lowest rate since the 2003 invasion. The Iraqi security forces are stronger, many groups are trying to partake in politics rather than use violence, most of the insurgency has switched sides since 2005 with the Anbar Awakening and the Sons of Iraq program, and the Special Groups have been largely inactive since the 2008 government offensives in Basra, Baghdad, and Maysan. That has resulted in what some U.S. commanders have called the “irreducible minimum,” meaning violence will not see any more reductions without some change in the status quo. Even with this new security environment, Iraq is still number one in the world in terrorist attacks, and 200-400 people die each month as a result, an unacceptable amount for any country.