Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Surge's Success Continues

Here’s our latest monthly, highly abbreviated version of the Iraq Index, published and updated twice a week by Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution:

Americans Killed in Action, Iraq (monthly average)
2003: 32
2004: 59
2005: 56
2006: 58
2007: 63
2008: 33
February: 31

Americans Killed in Action, Vietnam (monthly average)
1965: 128*
1966: 420
1967: 767
1968: 1140
1969: 785
1970: 413
* = First U.S. combat troops arrived in Vietnam, 5.3.65
Vietnam table compiled by Galen Fox using Defense Department sources.

Crude Oil Production (m. bbls./day)

Prewar Peak: 2.50
Goal: 2.20 (Revised upward, 1/08)
actual: 2.38 (2/08)

Electricity (megawatts)

Prewar: 3,958
Goal: 6,000
actual: 3,910 (2/08)

Since our last monthly report, the monthly American KIA total dropped from January's 34, and remains at half the monthly rate of 2 a day sustained for most of the Iraq war. In fact, the KIA total over the past six months (181) is the lowest for any six-month period since the war began. [Please note: the number of KIA is almost always lower than the media-reported total of American deaths, which covers all causes, including non-hostile. Our Iraq and Vietnam figures are KIA only.] These low American KIA figures beginning in September 2007 are the best indication the surge is working.

In February, oil output increased from 2.24 to 2.38 million barrels a day, and reached its highest output level for any February since the war began. Revenue from oil exports continues to rise, with January's total the highest on record. As for electricity, output did decline from December--going below 4,000 megawatts for the first time in nine months. Yet February's output was the highest for any February since 2004.

Parliament in February enacted two more benchmark laws, one providing for provincial elections in October, and another--a follow-on to January's de-Baathification law--that grants amnesty to thousands of mostly Sunni people still in Iraqi custody. The only key benchmark parliament has yet to enact, a law to share oil revenue with Sunni areas, is de facto already underway.

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