So, in the interest of accountability, here's some real data about what's going on out here- not many names, but at least hard data- only a month old. But my perception is that not much has changed in that one month. I think things are slowly getting better, and there is much potential for pretty much anything to happen- good or bad.
Iraq figures since 2003
By The Associated Press
February 4, 2008
U.S. TROOP LEVELS:
--December 2007: 156,000
--January 2008: 158,000
--Confirmed U.S. military deaths as of Jan. 31, 2008: 3,943.
--Confirmed U.S. military wounded as of Jan. 31, 2008: 29,038.
--U.S. military deaths for January 2008: 40.
--Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors as of Dec. 31, 2007: 1,123.
--Iraqi deaths from war-related violence: According to Associated Press figures, there were 609 total Iraqi deaths in January 2008 -- the lowest monthly figure since December 2005, when it was 375.
--Assassinated Iraqi academics: 344.
--Journalists killed on assignment: 126.
--Stepped-up military operations are costing about $12 billion a month, with Iraq accounting for $10 billion per month, according to a July 2007 analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
--Total cost to the U.S. government so far is over $490 billion.
--According to a November 2007 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, total economic costs for the Iraq war are estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. This figure represents the hidden costs of the war beyond the direct budgetary appropriations, including interest costs of borrowing these funds, lost investment, long-term veterans' health care and oil market disruptions.
-- A January 2007 study by Linda Bilmes of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government put the total projected cost of providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at $350 billion to $700 billion.
--Prewar: 2.58 million barrels per day.
--Jan. 20, 2008: 2.10 million barrels per day.
Prewar nationwide: 3,958 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): four to eight.
--Jan. 22, 2008 nationwide: 3,975 megawatts. Hours per day: 8.7.
--Prewar Baghdad: 2,500 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): 16-24.
--Jan. 22, 2008 Baghdad: Megawatts not available. Hours per day: 7.2.
--Note: Current Baghdad megawatt figures are no longer reported by the U.S. State Department's Iraq Weekly Status Report.
--Prewar land lines: 833,000.
--March 13, 2007: 1,111,000.
--Prewar cell phones: 80,000.
--Jan. 30, 2008: Approximately 10,000,000.
--Prewar: 12.9 million people had potable water.
--January 20, 2008: 20.4 million people have potable water.
--Prewar: 6.2 million people served.
--January 20, 2008: 11.3 million people served.
--Jan. 8, 2008: At least 2.4 million people have been displaced inside Iraq.
--Prewar: 500,000 Iraqis living abroad.
--Jan. 8, 2008: More than 2.2 million in neighboring countries, mainly Syria and Jordan. .
Sources: The Associated Press, State Department, Defense Department, Department of Energy, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, The Brookings Institution, Iraq Body Count, Iraqi ministries of health and education, U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, U.N. High Commission for Refugees, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Committee to Protect Journalists, Harvard University, Economist Intelligence Unit, National Priorities Project, International Telecommunication Union, The Brussels Tribunal, USAID, Paul Budde Communication.
AP researchers Julie Reed and Rhonda Shafner in New York compiled this report.
I think we've done an extraordinary job with our cell phone program.