Scorecard #1: How well are we doing in Iraq? How well is our opposition doing?

Here is a quick summary of the situation, in 6 dimensions. Major conclusion: not much available deep analysis or hard data available from public US sources.

US casualties (all sources)

September Coalition Fatalities of approx. 1.1/day, down slightly from 1.5/day in July.

Why the slight decrease in the death rate? Has the number of opposition attacks decreased? Have Coalitions forces moved to a more defensive posture? Have opposition forces shifted their attacks to other foreign elements and domestic collaborators?

Limited data on casualties appear to be 5 to 8 times the number of deaths – payback from wide use of body armor and high-quality armored vehicles.

By all accounts opposition attacks steadily grow more sophisticated. Note the increasing number and sophistication in opposition use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). War is the ultimate form of Darwinian evolution. Guerillas learn swiftly; only the most capable survive.

Opposition casualties

Little hard data, like almost everything about our opposition. Who are they? What goals? How many? Numbers increasing or falling? From where? Why fighting?

Iraq Civilian casualties from Coalition Fire

Limited data. A reliable public source indicates 12 deaths in September thru 9/10; similar rate to deaths of Coalition forces.

Some indications of deteriorating fire discipline by US troops. If true, a bad trend. Of course, a probable goal of the opposition is to encourage indiscriminate fire by Coalition troops.

Other casualties

I could not find a public database of civilian casualties from Opposition fire.

  • Increasing number and size of attacks against Iraq civilians aiding Coalition programs.
  • Increasing number and size of attacks on personnel of UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This demonstrates the ability of opposition leaders to identify and attack strategic weaknesses of Coalition programs.

Control of territory

Unknown. Some indications that US troops have pulled back from “hot” spots.

  • Increasing Shiite control of limited urban areas.

Success of both sides in advancing political objectives

  • Unclear at this time, with many conflicting reports.
  • Appears to be increasing Iraq Sunni opposition to Coalition.
  • Kurdish support for Coalition remains strong.
  • Shiite attitudes remain mixed.
  • Support for Iraq war in US and GB appears to be declining.
  • Opposition to Iraq war among non-Iraq Moslems appears to be increasing.

Support for Iraq war among non-Coalition governments appears to be decreasing.

2 thoughts on “Scorecard #1: How well are we doing in Iraq? How well is our opposition doing?

  1. Interesting, this snap shot from 5 years ago. Brave of anyone to want to re-visit, the prospect for acute embarassment.

    To FM’s profound credit he’s pretty close to right on the money, although the “body armour” has proven to be defective what they got was better than nothing, in combination with the advancements in medicine. Sadly many US troops return with irrevercable brain injury. And that’s a nice bonus, thank you very much Mr. President. (sarc) M

  2. I don’t see that much is said above that is of note, or can even be viewed as a good approximation of what is going on today in Iraq. It didn’t require any great thought process to predict that the Kurdish support would remain strong, nor Shiite mixed.

    Body armour, if initially a problem, would be corrected, and it was not a reason to panic. Summation of today, improved conditions. If it weren’t for Al Queda, which is not Iraqi in origin, the country would be peaceful. (Thank God max cannot blame that on Mr. President). (sarc).

    All in all, Maximus seems in error on most points from today’s tree-top view.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Did you note the date of this post: September 2003, 6 months after the invasion. Why would a description of Iraq 2003 resemble Iraq 2008?

    Since Sept 2003 I have written 85 posts about Afghanistan War. See the more recent ones for “today’s tree-top view.”

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