« Respect Her Authoritah! | Main | Message: I'm In Charge »

September 09, 2005

State of Iraq

The NY Times has released their new State of Iraq chart and oh what little difference a year makes. This one compares across Augusts (so August 03, August 04, August 05) on a variety of markers. Some of the findings:

• Of the three Augusts, 05 was the deadliest for US troops. Last month had 90 fatalities, 25 more than August 04, which in turn had 29 more than August 03. Major combat operations might be over on our side, but the insurgency is ramping right up.

• Happily, the number of troops wounded dropped significantly, 283 fewer than in August 2004, but August 2004 had 710 more than August 2003, so we're nowhere near post-war levels.

• Things are, as expected, getting worse for Iraqi civilians. August 05 had 600 being killed, a year before the number was 550, a year before that only 225.

• Estimated foreign jihadists is shooting up -- 100 in 03, 500 in 04, 900 now.

• Oil production is still 300,000 barrels below pre-war levels, but the GDP has increased above 2002's number. I'd like to know more about why that is, though -- how much of that is American-based reconstruction and how much is sustainable?

• The unemployment rate has dropped to 33%, though another way to say that is the unemployment rate is at 33%. If we want stability in Iraq, we're going to have to push that way down.

• About half the country's sewage is being treated (a marked improvement over past years), but significantly less electricity is available compared to 2004.

• There are more trained judges and Iraqi security forces than we've seen before.

Our delivery of basic services is, in some areas, marginally better, and in many others, a bit worse. More Americans are dying, more Iraqis are dying, there's less confidence in the government, less confidence in the country, more effective insurgent attacks, and a serious uptick in foreign jihadists. We're making some progress on training Iraqis to take over, but the country they're inheriting looks to be a mess. And for those who say we should remain until it's no longer a mess, I have to wonder why the steady deterioration with each extra year we remain there doesn't dishearten you some. While it looks like we're doing some good work on training/infrastructure issues, our security forces have been totally incapable of keeping the situation from degenerating.

September 9, 2005 in Iraq | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d8342fe83c53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference State of Iraq:

Comments

Looking ahead to August 2006, a useful but impossible to pin-down exercise, what is likely to be the situation?

Since Bush totally controls US actions, lets leave aside what might happen with better policy in place.

There seems to be two major scenarios: 1) the constitution is approved, a new government elected, some increase in Iraqi security forces' strength and effectiveness occurs, the US has only modestly larger troop deaths/wounded/disabled, the three major Iraqi religious/ethnic groups don't engage in outright militia/public civil war, and therefore the US has reduced its forces to something like half our current strength; 2) Some combination of the factors mentioned above don't occur.

Outcome #1 is a 'victory' and will be so-declared by BushCo. Iraq may be a weak state and a partial refuge and base for terrorists, but the US gets some form of 'peace with honor' in Nixonian/Kissingerian vernacular.

Outcome #2 is a Vietnamese quagmire, written even larger because the impact on nearby states and world oil stability. The US has 'lost' the struggle and has no obvious way to either 'win' or withdraw without substantial loss of face - with obvious international impacts on US standing elsewhere.

I'd place the probably of outcome #1 as 55% and outcome #2 as 30% (and 15% some other major alternative not considered here - like having the population uprise against US occupation).

I'd be interested in hearing other assessments of the probability of the outcomes described.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Sep 9, 2005 1:26:23 PM

Iraq Disintegrating

Another analysis, from "oldman" at BOPNews. We are either going broke, or it doesn't matter how big the deficits get. My instincts tell me we are approaching a real crisis, and the ease at which Congress is throwing money around is an indication of some drastic, maybe structural change, approaching.

I don't know if my opinions or predictions about Iraq matter much anymore, even to me. Presuming US withdrawal, Stirling Newberry predicts a dictator reboot, because the Shia militia cannot protect the oil infrastructure. For logistical reasons, Iran can't give the Shia the support they would need, so I am guessing a Sunni dictator with the predictable reprisals against collaborators. A million dead. But stability like Saddam.

Our standing diminished? Shoot, the int'l and domestic consequences of the humiliation are nightmarish. A vicious lurch to the right. Loss of the dollar as reserve currency. Collapse of the economy. I don't want to think about it anymore.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 9, 2005 2:14:31 PM

Oil production is still 300,000 barrels below pre-war levels, but the GDP has increased above 2002's number. I'd like to know more about why that is, though

In 2002 oil was (roughly) priced at $25 per barrel. This year it has been about twice that. Sure there are other contributing factors to Iraq's increased GDP, but I suspect these are fairly minor in light of the ongoing problems with Iraq's supporting infrastructure, with the hostilities between the major ethnic, political, and religious factions...AND in regards to the widespread violence and civil disorder.

Little did the administration know that by destabilizing the entire Middle Eastern oil supply that they would now be able to argue that Iraq is on the road to economic success as evidenced by its growing GDP.

While it looks like we're doing some good work on training/infrastructure issues, our security forces have been totally incapable of keeping the situation from degenerating.

Whatever "good work" we may have accomplished (if any) in a few limited areas is far outweighed by our inability to keep the peace. A plausible reality based argument can be made that we are mainly responsible for the ongoing instability, and our continued presence has prevented the Iraqis from finding their own political solution.

Posted by: James Emerson | Sep 9, 2005 2:25:28 PM

Major combat operations are over??

In the last week, US and Iraqi forces have been fighting in Tal Afar in a battle comparable to Fallujah. It hasn't hit the news over here because the battle is going well; if things went badly, you can bet we'd know all about it.

I know you don't like Bill Roggio, but on his site is a list of all the major operations in Anbar Province from February on. It is rather extensive.

August in particular had "Operation Quick Strike," involving 1,000 Marines, and the beginning of the aforementioned fighting in Tal Afar, "Operation Restore Rights" (what spineless weenie came up with than name?).

If you think our casualties are bad, you should see what happened to the other guy...

Posted by: Mastiff | Sep 9, 2005 2:57:08 PM

Mastiff is in a hard place here, because on the one hand, he needs Iraq to be successful in order to bear out the Bush Party Line, but on the other hand, he needs to worship the militarism of the Bush Party Line by pointing out all of the bad-guy killing that the soldiers in Iraq are doing.

While many of us might find it difficult to believe that large-scale combat in a country is consistent with civil society in the same country, I expect that Mastiff will be able to manage that doublethink quite successfully.

Posted by: paperwight | Sep 9, 2005 3:44:18 PM

...he needs Iraq to be successful...

You don't have that burden, do you? Losing a war seems just fine with the left. If it were up to them, we would have lost every war. I wonder what war they could get behind? I wonder when the next terrorist attack comes, and it will probably involve WMD of some kind, if the left will get angry at those who murder us or will they, again, apologize for those who push the button ultimately blaming the US?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 9, 2005 4:17:54 PM

"major combat operations are over" was Bush's line, not mine.

Oh, and Fred? The left fought and won both World War I and II. You guys, to your credit, really kicked Granada's ass, though.

Posted by: Ezra | Sep 9, 2005 4:55:51 PM

Guardian

Good grief. This guardian article says the contractors/mercenaries who provide security for the Baghdad airport and the Green Zone are quitting, having not been paid for six months. From deeper comments on the BOP oldman article.

Good lord, rooftop helicopters in weeks? It is frankly hard for me to imagine the Bush administration/GOP running from Iraq with their tail between their legs. But it is starting to look possible.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 9, 2005 5:25:29 PM

I wonder when the next terrorist attack comes, and it will probably involve WMD of some kind, if the left will get angry at those who murder us or will they, again, apologize for those who push the button ultimately blaming the US?


If the administration's preparation for a terrorist attack is anything like its preparation for a hurricane, then WE...and by WE I mean ALL of America...can be angry at those who've failed to protect us, after more than four years preparation and countless billions spent.

But then again, your comments indicate a profound lack of understanding as to how the growing global jihadists movement was catalyzed into its present form by our little misadventure in Iraq, and also how our little misadventure in Iraq ultimately played into Usama's hands.

I might be guessing here, but were you also in favor of Roosevelt invading Mexico because imperial Japan levelled Pearl Harbor?

Posted by: James Emerson | Sep 9, 2005 5:51:31 PM

The Iraq/ Sept 11 connection again. My brain hurts. That dog never did hunt and isn't about to. How about actions that get positive results ; too naive
? I have to figure you've been spending quality time on conspiracy sites.

Posted by: opit | Sep 9, 2005 6:57:41 PM

Posted by: apply for a master card | Nov 29, 2006 5:15:21 AM

A few years ago, it was difficult to find synthetic motor oils, and equally difficult to find someone who admitted

to using them. Nowadays, however, you can find synthetic motor oils on the shelves of Wal-Mart, and other retailers,

and the number of people turning to synthetic motor oils, particularly in light of the recent events affecting fuel

prices, has risen greatly.

So why do people use synthetic motor oils rather than sticking with the old petroleum based stand-bys which are

admittedly cheaper?

1. Let's start with the cost per quart issue. Synthetic motor oils ARE more expensive at purchase. However, these

oils last longer, requiring fewer oil changes. As a synthetic motor oil outlasts several changes of petroleum based

lubricants, the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of the lubricant is less. This cost savings becomes even greater if you

have someone else change your oil for you rather than doing it yourself!

Posted by: motorcycle oil | Feb 8, 2007 4:37:44 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.