Sunday, November 04, 2007

U.S. Fatalities significantly down for 2 consecutive months. Why?

I have been trying to figure out the main cause of the reduction in violence over the past several months. I can think of at least 3 contributing factors. First, there is the "surge" in U.S. forces. Secondly, there was the order that Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr asked his Militia to stand down for 6 months. Thirdly, there were the Sunni's deciding to work with U.S. forces to rid the area of Al Qaeda. Then there is the fact that President Bush seemed to get his way with the Congress on spending and legislation to support the troops. Lastly, the 3 leading Democratic PresidentiaL candidates, Hillary, Barack and Edwards, have sidestepped the issue of bringing home the troops and stated that they could not guarantee they could bring home the troops by 2013, the end of their first term if they were chosen as President.

Let's take a look at the timeline of these events. Which one or two fit the timeline best?

1. The "Surge"

Dec. 6th, 2006 Iraq Study Group report. Jan. 10th surge announcement by President Bush. Surge started by 82nd Airborne on Jan. 10th. June 17th surge complete. (These dates seem much earlier and one would have to assume it took 2 1/2 months to make things better after all the troops were there. This is possible)

2. Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr 's Militia stops fighting

Sept. 1st. (This seems to fit exactly withing the 2 months and would be a precipitous event. Highly likely)

3. Sunni's decide to work with U.S forces to rid themselves of Al Qaeda

May 1st was the first report of this story. 2nd major story appeared early June. (Again, these dates seem much earlier and one would have to assume it took 2 1/2 months to make things better after the decision was made. This is also possible.)

4. President Bush gets his way with Congress.

February 17th non-binding Iraq Warner/Levin amendment looses, Sept. 26th Kyl-Lieberman amendment with support from Hillary, passes, Oct 1st Senate vote unites Iraqi's in anger over Biden Amendment calling to creat a fedral system of 3 States of Iraq, as Iraqis see this as a threat to their sovereignty. (This might have an effect if Iraqis were watching our news and were united on how to play this to get us to leave. Possible but not probable)

5. Leading Democratic candidates say can't commit to bringing troops home.
August 19, debate in Des Moines, Iowa, then Oct.30th debate in Philadelphia, PA (Possible but not probable)

Many of these dates do coincide with the very significant reduction in U.S. Fatalities for September and October with Oct being the most impressive reductione. But to ascribe a highly proable cause, it is important to understand the chartacter of the war and what was going on in Iraq. Most would agree, both Republican and Democrats alike, that ther fighting in Iraq was mostly between Sunni and Shia's and that it was a Civil War that was going on in Iraq. Therefore this coiupled with the dates leads me to conclude that the standing down of Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Militia is the most probable of reasons that thee has benn a significant reduction in U.S. AND Iraqi casualties. It amkes sense and the dates are closer in proximity than any other dates as one would have to estiamte at how long the effect took to be seen. This would be the case for the Surge and it wouldn't have as much of an effect as one side choosing to stand down in the conflict. That's what I would bet on. How about you? Waht do you think mnakes sense? It could be a single action or one in combination. It doesn't hurt having the troops there trying to keep the peace and it doesn't hurt to have the Militia stand down. That's a win-win.

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