Sunday, March 25, 2007
This graphic is taken from the State Dept's Iraq Weekly Status Report for March 21. The blue line shows the volume of US Dollars sold in the Iraqi currency auction. As you can see, there's a dramatic drop, from a daily average of roughly $80 million to $8 million, in the first week in November 2006. After a slight bump, the action finally picks back up on... January 21. The two dates correspond to the mid-term Congressional elections and President Bush's State of the Union address.
What does it mean? One possible explanation is that given the possibility of an end to the US occupation, represented by the Democratic takeover of Congress, Iraqis overwhelmingly decided to hold on to their greenbacks. Once the President announced the troop surge in the SOTU address, on the other hand, folks felt secure enough to put their dollars back on the market.
Evidence of at least two ways in which Iraqi public opinion is more dialed in than George Bush's. First, it recognized that the American mid-term election was a rejection of the war. And second, it recognized that Iraq as a stable society does not exist absent an American military presence.
The entire war debate now revolves around the question of whether it's still possible to change that, and if so, at what cost.