Iraq By The Numbers: Charting Violence in Iraq
Bill Roggio puts the graphs and graphics in one place. One graphics shows the decline in "ethno-sectarian violence" between December 2006 and November 2007. I've included a graph showing US troop levels in Iraq from 2003. Comparing troop levels against the Bill Roggio's graphs the question which immediately suggests itself is what correlation the total troop levels had with the declines in violence?
The Surge is that little bit at the end of the graph above with the dotted line going up slowly.
While the public gaze was focused on total troop numbers in Iraq, it was really local superiority which mattered. For example, Fardh al-Qanoon, the Baghdad security plan, began around February of 2007. But by March, according to the graphic on "ethno-sectarian violence" the violence in Baghdad had already begun to decline. Even before total troop numbers had begun to rise much, the Coalition had already maneuvered to create dominance in the Baghdad battlefield. It was the first of "three successive, large-scale military operations in 2007" planned by Petraeus and Odierno as described by Kimberly Kagan's military summary of the Surge "How They Did It".
It was this trio of offensives which really constituted the basis for victory. The Surge, in the sense of a mere infusion of additional men, was simply a means to keep the offensive going without creating security vacuums. Petraeus and Odierno's 2007 campaigns are probably going to be called the Surge forever, though that makes about as much historical sense as calling the Breakout and Pursuit in Northern France the Red Ball Express.
If another reminder were needed of the under-described battles which the Surge undergirded, a suggestive graphic is Roggio's IED explosions incidence map. IED attacks, which are the enemy's most effective weapon, were at a near all-time high between September 2006 and July 2007 and Coalition casualties (see Iraq Coalition Casualty Count) reflect this fact. The maximum-effort IED chart is a portrait of the insurgency fighting back -- indeed, fighting for its life. It reaches nearly to it's all time high and then falls further in four months than it has taken two and a half years to attain. It's as dramatic picture of the offensives as can be depicted on a chart. And thanks to Bill Roggio for providing it.
And please don't forget about the Real Surge.