I find if baffling when conservatives whom I encounter wonder if things in Iraq are "really that bad." To me, the question has always seemed kind of pathetically trusting of the good face the administration has to put on the war. I want to jump up and say, "of course it's going that bad! Are you insane?" I bring this up because I'm wondering how much of a doomsayer I've been. Yes, I think the war is a mess and can't be won, but I'm also pretty sure I've been overlooking the few positive stories that do exist. I was just looking at oil production data http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/supply.html and while Iraqi oil production remains down from pre-war (and way down from pre-1990s) totals, it's in the same ballpark--an accomplishment when people are trying to blow up the pipelines. Of course, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that oil production is one of the things the U.S. has done well on. Also, the accomplishment of nearing pre-war levels in a country that had been devestated before the war isn't exactly amazing either. But still, it's better than low oil production.