George’s Amazing Technicolor Surgecoat


It is uncanny how, even now, a few iffy columns and questionable news stories can completely upend the conventional wisdom in Washington, even in the face of vast amounts of contradictory evidence. What’s even more amazing is how many Democrats actually start to believe it. I don’t think it is too much to say that the conventional wisdom is now that unexpected success from the surge may possibly leave the Democrats off balance in September rather than the Republicans. Sure, political progress is still non-existent, the thinking goes, but no one can deny the success of the surge in purely military terms. I think I must have seen at least a half a dozen major news stories in the last week or so following this story line.

But is any of this true? Setting aside strategic progress are we even making tactical progress? Are we even reducing the rates of violence which the theory at least said should open the door to political progress?

Kevin Drum broke down the numbers from the Brookings Iraq Index and the answer seems to be pretty clearly, No. One key decision Kevin made was to make a seasonal comparison — not how were June and July compared to March and April but how does June/July 2007 stack up against June/July 2006. The answer? Not well. As Al Gore once put it about a different topic, all the numbers that you want to be up are down and vice versa. Or just about all of them.