As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met. In recent months, in the face of tough enemies and the brutal summer heat of Iraq, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have achieved progress in the security arena. Though the improvements have been uneven across Iraq, the overall number of security incidents in Iraq has declined in 8 of the past 12 weeks, with the numbers of incidents in the last two weeks at the lowest levels seen since June 2006.
Coalition and Iraqi operations have helped reduce ethno-sectarian violence, as well, bringing down the number of ethno-sectarian deaths substantially in Baghdad and across Iraq since the height of the sectarian violence last December. The number of overall civilian deaths has also declined during this period, although the numbers in each area are still at troubling levels.
In yet another barometer of exactly how right General Petraeus was with his numbers and how wrong MoveOn.org and Hillary Clinton were with their statements, we see today one of the most telling reports that prove this his points beyond doubt.
" As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch"
NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq .
Since the surge began, since before the full compliment of troops that are part of the surge even arrived, burials at the cemetery have been cut by a third.
A hell of a barometer, but a barometer it is.