Wednesday, April 27, 2005

assassination and trends

an iraqi MP was assassinated. she was a member of allawi's party, and allawi himself recently survived a different assassination attempt. allawi's party lost big in the january 30th election. some believe it became the most widely unpopular of the major iraq parties because of allawi's acquiescence to the fallujah offensive last winter.

there is an open question whether today's assassination of lame'a abed khadawi was an attack against the new parliament in general, or whether it was more specifically directed against allawi's party. of course, as one of the female members of parliament, it's also possible that she was targetted for her gender as well.

in any case, the violence is getting bad again in iraq. but i'm getting more and more reluctant to claim there is a trend based on short-term data. as this drags on it seems that no matter what happens the pro- or anti-war people like to point to the recent numbers to argue that things are getting better or worse in iraq. the numbers switch places on a monthly basis, but that hasn't seemed to stop anyone--myself included--from making long-term predictions. last month golden boy was crowing about how the fall off in the number of insurgent attacks shows iraq is getting better. well they're increasing again now. while the increase suggests that GB was wrong in claiming there was a consistent trend downward (if he ever did make such a definitive claim), it doesn't necessarily mean there is a trend upward either. the only thing i am fairly confident of now is that there is no crystal clear indication either way of whether things in iraq are going forwards or backwards. anyone who claims otherwise is ultimately talking out their ass.

and maybe that's why rumsfeld dodged the question yesterday when asked whether we were winning or losing in iraq. i actually respect him slightly more for not answering that one. it's better than a mindless "we are too winning!" response like the one that joint chiefs chairman richard myers gave.