BAGHDAD - This year's U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.Kevin Drum did a great job yesterday of debunking "the surge is a success" meme, here and here. Violence is down in Baghdad but As the AP reported earlier any security improvements in Baghdad may be more the result of increased control by Shiite militia than an increase in US presence. There is also the fact that most of the Sunnis have already been killed or driven out of Baghdad - the ethnic cleansing is complete.
Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings — the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.
The tallies and trends offer a sobering snapshot after an additional 30,000 U.S. troops began campaigns in February to regain control of the Baghdad area. It also highlights one of the major themes expected in next month's Iraq progress report to Congress: some military headway, but extremist factions are far from broken.
In street-level terms, it means life for average Iraqis appears to be even more perilous and unpredictable.
Now the Pentagon is about to start flooding us with spin but if you look at all the numbers and the total lack of progress on the political front you can only conclude that the surge has failed.