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02 August 2007
Iraqi guerrillas take their summer holidays: Americans keep on dying.
With only 81 Americans dead in Iraq last month, the American Vice-President Dick Cheney is already claiming that the surge is working, and the Exile reckons that it won't be long before the wankblogs get in on the act. The cull is down quite a bit over previous months, so on the surface they have a point, right?

Wrong, because your enthusiastic correspondent has been checking the culls for every July since the war against Iraq began - and here they are:

2003: 48
2004: 54
3005: 54
2006: 43
2007: 81

Looking at these figures, and seeing how the casualty rate always declines in July, the Exile was planning to write a sarcastic piece about how nice it must be for the Iraqis to schedule their summer holidays at the same time every year.

Alas, Juan Cole pointed out that "July is like a blast furnace in Iraq," as the temperature reaches 140 degrees F. in the shade. So what started out as a sarcastic post has turned out to be pretty close to the truth: the guerrillas do take a break during July! The Americans keep on patrolling, sweating and worrying if the next corner will be the one where the bomb is planted, but the Iraqis are taking it easy. Good for them.

The other point that needs to be made is that although the Iraqis are enjoying their summer break, they are not taking as much time off as they did in previous years. 81 American dead is a pretty respectable score given that heat.

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