How They Did It (The Weekly Standard)

The surge of operations that American and Iraqi forces began on June 15 has dramatically improved security in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. U.S. commanders and soldiers have reversed the negative trends of 2006, some of which date back to 2005. The total number of enemy attacks has fallen for four consecutive months, and has now reached levels last seen before the February 2006 Samarra mosque bombing. IED explosions have plummeted to late 2004 levels. Iraqi civilian casualties, which peaked at 3,000 in the month of December 2006, are now below 1,000 for the second straight month. The number of coalition soldiers killed in action has fallen for five straight months and is now at the lowest level since February 2004. These trends persisted through Ramadan, when violence had typically spiked. "I believe we have achieved some momentum," General Raymond T. Odierno, commander of coalition combat forces in Iraq, said modestly in his November 1 press briefing. Since security was deteriorating dramatically in Iraq a year ago, how U.S. commanders and soldiers and their Iraqi partners achieved this positive momentum deserves explanation, even though hard fighting continues and the war is not yet won.

This article originally appeared in The Weekly Standard.

Flash Presentation Photo:  Lt. Col. Ricardo Love, commander of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq, and Col. Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, review maps during a patrol in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood Saturday, July 21. Odierno and Gibbs were visiting Dora to meet with local Iraqi and American military commanders. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour, MNC-I Public Affairs, July 21st, 2007)