This will come as a surprise to some, but the Pentagon is reporting that the "surge" has had no effect on slowing the increasing violence in Iraq.
Violence in Iraq, as measured by casualties among troops and civilians, has edged higher despite the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad, the Pentagon told Congress on Wednesday. The required quarterly report, which surveyed violence from Feb. 10 to May 7, found that the average number of Iraqi civilians killed or wounded each day was more than 100, nearly double the daily toll from the same period one year ago. The number of daily U.S. casualties was about 25, slightly higher than a year ago.
The average weekly number of attacks across Iraq for the reporting period surpassed 1,000, compared to about 600 weekly attacks for the same period one year ago. More than 75 percent of the attacks were aimed at U.S. forces, according to the report, which also examined political and economic developments in Iraq.
They are also reporting that Maliki isn't fulfilling promises he's made:
The Pentagon raised questions about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ability to fulfill a pledge made in January to prohibit political interference in security operations and to allow no safe havens for sectarian militias.
Al Qaeda retains the ability to hit hard in Baghdad despite our increased presence there:
Despite the increased presence of U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad, the military reports that l-Qaida still maintained the ability to conduct "high-profile, mass-casualty attacks" in the city.
Another effect of the surge has been to simply relocate the violence to areas outside the capital:
Wednesday's broader report, the eighth in a series, said that while violence fell in the capital and in Anbar province west of Baghdad during the February-May period, it increased in other areas, particularly in the outlying areas of Baghdad province and in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad and in the northern province of Nineva.
Of course, all of this was utterly predictable. Increasing our forces by a scant 10-15% never had the potential of reversing Iraq's slide into chaos. Our own generals admit that it was just an effort to give the Maliki government some breathing room with which to achieve some form of political accommodation with Iraq's restive Sunni minority. There's been no progress on that front at all. In fact, the Shiites seem to be deliberately avoiding reconciliation with the Sunnis so they can continue to build their strength in preparation for the final showdown. Those who believed that the surge would somehow magically fix things in Iraq have been badly deceived by politicians who all know that we are being held hostage in Iraq by the Maliki government. Bush and the Republicans don't want you to know that their fate rests with Maliki.
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