First off, yesterday was a brutal day in Iraq, with nine U.S. soldiers killed while "about 100 Iraqis were killed and 130 injured in mortar strikes, suicide attacks, car bombings, drive-by shootings and other violence across the country." (Post story here.)
You can't tell much from just one day, other than that things still look extraordinarily grim in Iraq. The longer term data, however, is just as bad.
Data is hard to come by in Iraq. The Post did an analysis, however, comparing data from morgues in Iraq during the months before the "surge" and after it began. (See "Morgue Data Show Recent Increase In Sectarian Killings in Iraq") What the Post found was that after a brief reduction in the number of "unidentified bodies" found in Baghdad after the surge began, this month has now already exceeded deaths in January 2007, before the surge began.
Moreover, if you look at the number of unidentified bodies found around the country--remember, the main focus of the surge has been in Baghdad--the number has actually been higher in EVERY month since the surge began.
Likewise, the number of deaths from "mass-casualty bombings" has also been much higher since the surge began (although a good deal lower so far in May).
The one place you won't find objective data like this is from the Bush Administration, living as it is in denial land.
It's pretty clear what's going on here: after the U.S. announced the beginning of the "surge," Shi'ite militias, mostly responsible for the sectarian killings that result in unidentified bodies, decided to lay low and take stock of the situation.
Now they've figured out how to evade U.S. troops and keep up their dirty work. Expect the toll to grow worse, even as the surge peaks. Sunni fighters--who favor indiscriminate mass bombings--of course never let up.
So, the civil war goes on. Meanwhile, millions of Iraqis have fled, living in exile. How many of those refugees did the U.S. admit this month? One. Some ally, eh?