General Petraeus doesn’t want to paint this better or worse than it is. December was the height of the ethno-sectarian violence. So we’re comparing the worst possible month with the current situation, and it has dropped dramatically, which was the intent of the surge, to stop the over-all killings, and ethno-sectarian violence is down even more. In other words, all civilian casualties and all civilian deaths are down 17 percent and 48 percent, respectively.Readers of The Shadowland Journal entry, "The Surge, the Sun and the Sand," or of Newsweek International's "Why It Matters" blog will recall that these kinds of changes tend to be cyclical and heavily affected by the weather. You'd think with all the "metrics" that Petraeus has pulled together, he'd know that. Actually, I think he does. He just figures you don't. - C.S.