Does anyone else think that the "surge" was invented purely to come up with some political tactic to explain the rising violence in Iraq and the dramatically increasing US fatality rate? Arguably, the current increased fatality rate began last October, with 106 US deaths (although October/November is always a violent time). We've had one month since then with less than 80 US deaths (November), now making seven months in a row with 80+ deaths (the previous record was two). Deaths have increased from about 2.3 per day to 3.5 per day and have been distinctly unrelenting. http://icasualties.org/oif/ To me, it seems like someone realized that things were about to get even more out of hand, so they came up with this whole idea to buy yet more time for their failed strategy.