Now this is what we should be seeing more of. The surge has basically been chasing the terrorist and criminal gangs around the suburbs of Baghdad, or even into northern or western Iraq. This has taken its toll. Time spent in flight cannot be spent planting IEDs or killing people. Putting all these guys on the road, also makes them more susceptible to capture. A lot of important terrorists have been captured this way. The chief liason between al Qaeda headquarters and al Qaeda in Iraq was nabbed, as well as many mid-level terrorist cell leaders.
What most of the troops, and Iraqi civilians, notice is the lower level of violence. Since the surge offensive began four months ago, Iraq (military and civilian) deaths have declined by more than 50 percent, and American casualties are down by over a third. U.S. troops are still taking the lead in moving into hostile areas, and being exposed to ambush and IEDs. But U.S. tactics and training have made enemy efforts much less lethal. This has helped demoralize an increasing number of terrorists. Many are tired of killing Iraqi civilians, and the increasing difficulty at getting at American troops. Look at this from the Iraqi perspective. In a very good month, Iraqis make a hundred or more attacks a day on American troops, and kill, on average, about four of them. While the terrorists make a big deal out of every American killed, they know that most of their attacks were not only failures, but got a lot of their buddies killed. On average, 10-20 terrorists die for every American killed. This has been going on for years, and an increasing number of Iraqi fighters are demoralized and quitting. Many either become informers, or surrender and speak freely. This is resulting in fresher intelligence, and raids that are catching terrorist cells preparing for operations, and in possession of weapons, bombs and incriminating documents. Hey, if it works I'm all for it. The problem is it should have happened at least three years ago and without nearly destroying our reputation as a country in the process. But here's hoping they can get the job done right this time.