So much for that surge thing

It’s increasingly obvious that despite the lulls in notorious hotspots, the insurgents are simply biding their time:

A series of fatalities announced on Tuesday in Iraq saw the US military’s death toll rise to its highest monthly level in more than two years.

The US army reported that eight troops died in roadside bombings and a helicopter crash, bringing total fatalities so far for May to 112, a level not seen since the insurgency took hold in November 2004. The spike in violence follows another bloody month in April, when 104 US troops were killed.

We had better bring them home before the war caused by the occupation precedes their return.

Michael O’Hanlon, a defence expert at the Brookings Institution, said the higher troop fatalities were only partly owing to the increased patrols US soldiers were undertaking. He said another significant cause of the violence was retaliation by Shia militias against US and Iraqi forces. He added that a key test would be whether the crackdown on militias produced a security pay-off or helped the extremist groups recruit more members.

Ah yes, the Rumsfeld metric. One guess as to how that’s going to turn out, given the way in which events have answered the former Secretary of Defense’s question with a resounding no.