Contrary to Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s letter to President Bush, the surge hasn’t failed. We have additional proof thanks to this Financial Times article. First, here’s what Reid’s and Pelosi’s letter said:

“As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results,” the two leaders wrote. “The increase in US forces has had little impact in curbing the violence or fostering political reconciliation. It has not enhanced Americas national security. The unsettling reality is that instances of violence against Iraqis remain high and attacks on US forces have increased. In fact, the last two months of the war were the deadliest to date for US troops.”

Let’s compare that with the Financial Times’ article:

The Iraqi government reported on Monday that civilian casualties dropped by more than 50 per cent in September, a month in which US casualties also declined to their lowest level in 14 months.

All estimates of civilian casualties are contentious, due to the difficulty of obtaining complete data from conflict zones scattered across the country as well as the danger that statistics will be politically manipulated.

But September’s drop is one of the most dramatic since the Iraqi government began releasing figures, and is in rough accordance with other data suggesting levels of violence may be dropping.

I’m more apt to believe that Iraqi civilian deaths are dropping thanks to this Powerline article:

At what’s believed to be the world’s largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn’t good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

If Iraqis are being killed, they certainly wouldn’t be cutting “the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.” Before anyone mentions that Powerline’s post talks about a Shiite cemetery, it’s important to remember that things have changed dramatically in the Sunni province of Anbar Province. That success has helped other areas stabilize. Here’s what Gen. Petraeus said:

Gen. David Petraeus, the top military official in Iraq, said this week that the coalition had driven al-Qa’eda out of every major stronghold in Baghdad, but he refused to declare victory against the group, warning that it remained capable of mounting devastating, spectacular attacks.

Anbar is a bright spot, AQI has essentially been run out of Baghdad and Shiite deaths have dropped so dramatically that they’re cutting the pay of workers “who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.” That sounds like a downward trend in Iraqi civilian casualties and MNF-I casualties.

It’s a welcome report after months and years of taking a step forward, then a step back.

Thankfully, Gen. Petraeus didn’t pay attention to Reid’s and Pelosi’s letter. I’d suggest that we ignore their letter, too.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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