Even though accidental deaths are higher for the month of August, the death rate is still about that of July--part of a lower trend of US military deaths. Even considering the large scale killing in the otherwise peaceful northern Iraq this month, civilian deaths are maintaining their downward trend. Democrats in the US Congress are conceding that we're making progress. Why is this?
First of all because the surge is working. The general populace is being treated with more respect by the US military. The insurgents are getting their butts kicked. But there's another reason.
As the smoke begins to clear from the surge, Iraqis are beginning to see a distinctive difference between the US Military and al Qaeda. You can trust one but not the other. Michael Yon, who currently resides in Al Anbar, puts it this way:
Ironically, in Anbar Al Qaeda has become our best ally for killing al Qaeda. They’ve managed to do this directly, just by being al Qaeda. Despite the promised carrots, what Al Qaeda consistently delivered here was mostly stick, and with a special kind of hypocritical contempt that no sensible person would believe possible. (Not unlike the notion of baking the children of resistant parents or ordering shepards to diaper the corrupting genitals of goats.)With the success of General Petraeus's plan, even some of the bigger fish are trying to call a truce. Captain's Quarters noticed this interesting development.
Al Qaeda has a management style—doing drugs, laying up sloppy drunk, raping women and boys, and cutting off heads, all while imposing strict morality laws on the locals—that makes it clear that they have one set of principles for themselves, and another for every one else.
In that kind of scheme, it didn’t take long before people in Anbar realized that any benefits from Al Qaeda having control would not be distributed equally. Once that realization spread, the tribal sheiks—almost all Sunni—had to consider the alternatives.
Earlier today, the Italian news service AKI reported that the presumed leader of the largest insurgency in Iraq will start cooperating with the Iraqi government. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, one of the highest-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's government, reportedly pledged to work with Iraqi and American forces to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Things have been improving, and they continue to do so. But it looks like our counterinsurgency tactics, which have been bearing fruit for quite some time now, are reaching critical mass. Hopefully, future improvements will be larger and/or more frequent.
al Qaeda is no good. They are not good Muslims. The Iraqis are starting to notice this en masse. Even a couple of Democrats have as well. What happens if things continue to improve? Democrats asking for Bush to serve a third term?