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The Question They Didn’t Ask and Bush’s New Plan C

You don’t need me to tell you things are not going well in Iraq. The NYT surveys the state of affairs this morning, and the news is not good.

The number of roadside bombs planted in Iraqrose in July to the highest monthly total of the war, offering moreevidence that the anti-American insurgency has continued to strengthendespite the killing of the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Alongwith a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikesagainst American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January.The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of thatincrease. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs explodedor were found. [my emphasis]

The article then goes goes onto discuss two studies–an August 3 DIA study entitled "Iraq Update" and the upcoming NIE–that tell more of that same story.

But what struck me about this article is the way they seem to be measuring whether Zarqawi’s death has led to a decrease in attacks. In spite of the many reports that told us the bulk of Sunni violence came from Baathist "Dead-Enders" rather than Al Qaeda, they seem to have taken seriously the proposition that Zarqawi’s death would lead to a decrease in attacks.

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