Back Talk analyzes civilian casualties and Former Spook looks at military casualties. The problem is that both casualty figures get inflated by single terrorist attacks or accidents which do not indicate trends.

Take military casualties. In May, prior to the COIN strategy, 118 were killed by hostile fire. In August, the number dropped to 54. The number of patrols and troops in theater increased, but the number of hostile attacks and the effectiveness of hostile attacks dropped significantly. The casualty rate is so low that it gets artifically inflated (by almost 30%) by a handful of accidents.

There are similar signs with Baghdad civilian casualties, which have dropped by half since the start of the year.