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March 29, 2005

Some In Pentagon Dare to Whisper, "Victory?"

It's a Vietnam cliche, but is there light at the end of the tunnel?:

In the privacy of their E-ring offices, senior Pentagon officials have begun to entertain thoughts that were unimaginable a year ago: Iraq is turning the corner.

Military officials and analysts say the clearing out of enemy-infested Fallujah in November, the Jan. 30 elections and the increasing willingness of Iraqis to fight and die for a democratic country are contributing to the momentum.

"This is still a tough fight. We don't want anyone to think that it is not," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a military analyst who strongly supports Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. "But the momentum is in our direction."

...

A military source in Iraq declined to give raw number of attacks, but said, "There has been a decided downward trend in the number and lethality of attacks since the January 30 elections."

A Pentagon official said the more that intelligence agencies analyze the insurgency, the clearer it becomes that a large part is criminal, not nationalistic.

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein released tens of thousands of hardened criminals, including murderers, before the March 2003 invasion, meaning that as the ex-convicts are recaptured, insurgent leaders might have an increasingly smaller pool from which to recruit attackers.

...

An analysis by Reuters shows that U.S. combat deaths in March so far have averaged barely one per day, the lowest figure since February 2004. All told, 1,520 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq, including 1,164 killed in action.

Nice of Reuters to notice, but the blogosphere noticed first.

And Kronology also notes that even the unabasedly lefty and anti-war Guardian UK is kinda-sorta admitting that things are going well... or badly, depending on whom you're rooting for.

Update: 10 Fingers 6 Strings has noted this previously as well, and has stats and analysis.


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posted by Ace at 01:58 AM

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