Good News... from Iraq

This is of particular interest to me, as Brad noted I will very shortly be heading overseas, but I think this is news that everyone should be very happy to see. There are several parts of this Department of Defense press release that are worth noting, but I'll start with two that stand out the most:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2008 – The number of daily attacks in Iraq has dropped nearly 95 percent since last year, a U.S. military official said yesterday.

Iraq suffered an average of 180 attacks per day this time last year. But over the past week, the average number was 10, Army Brig. Gen. David G. Perkins, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

“This is a dramatic improvement of safety throughout the country,” Perkins told reporters during a wide-ranging news conference in Baghdad yesterday.

He added that the country’s murder rates have dropped below levels that existed before the start of American operations in Iraq. In November, the ratio was 0.9 per 100,000 people.

Perkins said political progress has complemented the reduction in violence, citing the recent passage of two pieces of legislation that will help guide the future security and political relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

How amazing is that? A 95% reduction in the number of attacks. If anyone had predicted that a year ago it would have been dismissed as a pipe-dream, yet there it is. The other point in there about the murder rate, as a comparison the United States' murder rate from 2000-2006 has been a steady 6 per 100,000. That's an amazing statistic in a country so recently plagued by sectarian violence.

The other part of the release I'd like to point out is the last three paragraphs about the countries that have already withdrawn:

Providing an update on the changing composition of the multinational force, Perkins said forces from 19 countries have completed their missions serving “side by side” with Iraqi security counterparts and have departed the country in the past four months.

“These nations have accomplished much for the people of Iraq. They have trained and mentored Iraqis in everything from security techniques to literacy and public health,” he said. “It has been an honor for us to serve with these great coalition partners.”

The nations include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Tonga and Ukraine.

Nineteen countries. Is that really "going it alone?" I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone here. I am simply pointing out the fallacy of one of the favorite criticisms of President Bush and the Iraq War. I served alongside soldiers from many of these nations and I am glad that they have completed their missions. Given the other statistics in the press release, I look forward to the day we finish ours as well - with honor, victory and freedom for the Iraqi people.