Thursday, September 27, 2007


I don't know why the war is still going on -- the number of insurgents who are dead or captured is now, according to the U.S. military, greater than the number who were fighting:

More than 19,000 militants have been killed in fighting with coalition forces since the insurgency began more than four years ago, according to military statistics released for the first time....

Last year, Gen. John Abizaid, then commander of military forces in the region, estimated the Sunni insurgency to be 10,000 to 20,000 fighters. He said the Shiite militia members were in the "low thousands." The U.S. military hasn't publicly provided any recent estimates.

There are 25,000 detainees in U.S. military custody in Iraq, according to the military. The numbers of enemy killed and detained would exceed the estimate given last year of the size of the insurgency....

According to U.S. sources, the insurgency has never been all that big. As of October 2006 it was "20,000-30,000 (including militias)," as reported by the Brookings Institution. A 2006 U.S. military estimate "ranged from 8,000 to 20,000," according to the BBC. A "senior military official" told CNN in 2005 that there were "between 13,000 and 17,000 insurgents in Iraq." Unnamed "American military officials" told the AP in 2004 that "the guerrillas can call on loyalists to boost their forces to as high as 20,000."

And now 44,000 insurgents are out of commission. So we've wiped them out and we can go home, right?

Oh, yeah, I left out this estmate:

Earlier this month [January 2005], Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, the director of the Iraqi intelligence service, said there are 200,000 insurgents, including at least 40,000 hard-core fighters.

Well, there's an interesting alternate theory: that the U.S. is actually lowballing the insurgent numbers, and the size of the insurgency was (and is?) actually larger than the size of the U.S. force in Iraq. Could that possibly be the problem?

Naaah. I'm sure the insurgents are managing to fight on despite the fact that their numbers are less than zero because they're so darn evil.

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