MESOPOTAMIAN WIRTSCHAFTWUNDER IN PROGRESS? The Brookings Institution periodically release an Iraq Index. All Things Conservative suggests that there is "plenty to pleased about," and Futurist attempts further interpretation, including the suggestion that the world news might be sensationalizing the Baghdad police blotter.

On the metric of violence in Iraq, it appears that about 80% of Iraq has a murder rate no higher than in the roughest neighborhoods in Chicago, Los Angeles, or Miami. This is worthy of being classified as 'violent criminal activity' rather than 'civil war'. The remaining 20% of Iraq has a higher rate of violence, but no higher than it was two years ago. Note that life expectancy in Iraq has actually risen.

Lastly, it appears that 64% of Iraqis believe that Iraq is going in the right direction, and 77% are still glad that Saddam was removed. If one excludes Sunnis from the polls, the figures above rise to 83% and 96% respectively.

The post also suggests that victory, like desktop computers or waffle irons, must meet a higher standard today than would have satisfied years ago.
Iraq just can't be as safe as Germany was by 1949, it has to become safe enough for American tourists to go for vacation in decent numbers (just as they currently go to Israel, Tanzania, or Thailand). That is a very high bar to attain, but unfortunately one we have to meet in this political climate.
That standard might take some time to meet, with setbacks along the way. Lebanon was once a fine vacation destination. Has it recovered from the civil war and occupation going on 30 years ago?

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