This means the good news in the run-up to the anxiously awaited Petraeus-Crocker progress report gets upstaged by the bad news: Negligible decreases in U.S. and Iraqi casualties despite all of the spinning about how much better things are.Beyond all of those congressional junkets to Iraq, which almost inevitably produced statements from returning honorables like "Golly gee, that surge thing sure is working!," August also was notable for:
* An Associated Press investigation that found deaths from political violence have increased since the surge began, averaging 62 per day, while deaths per day from political violence in 2006 averaged 33. And while Baghdad is safer that is because the violence has been pushed out elsewhere.
* A growing debate over troop levels. Some active-duty commanders and a fair number of retired ones are warning that the
* A declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq concluded that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can't find his mojo and there won't be legislative reforms unless there is a fundamental shift in governance. Translation: Throw the bum out.
* Over 400 people were killed in a series of coordinated suicide bombings in northern Iraqm kaing them the deadliest coordinated attack since 9/11.
81 (88) --
169 (June-July: 179) --
3,735 (3,657) -- Total killed