Just finished watching the Patraeus speech. He's claiming that attack numbers are going down; maybe, maybe not, though I've got the impression that those year-to-year numbers aren't exactly telling that story.(Those being march 2005 compared to march 2006 compared to march 2007, which neatly eliminates seasonal variances.)
I'm not impressed by the Anbar thing, either. Al Qaeda's an insurgent group, and any insurgent knows that you don't fight pitched battles for territory, but fade away and concentrate somewhere else. The question that Patraeus isn't answering is what the next Anbar will be like.
The important bit, though, was early on. Patraeus pretty much out-and-out asserted that Iran is fighting Americans in Iraq, and trying to set up a "hezbollah-like" proxy in Iraq. That is going to be seized on as justification for an upcoming conflict with Iran. That also fits with his discussion of the drawdown as well- whether or not the "draw down" has more to do with preparing for another conflict is a very, very important question. That little blurb about Iran was far more important than the rest.
We're this much closer to bombs over Tehran.
(Other observation? That "we don't know what the future will bring" stuff was pretty blatant CYA-ing.
Edit: Ooh, video!
Video's from the National Security Network. Nice work, and it shows how figures got cooked more than just a little. Makes sense: if it's good enough for police commanders on The Wire, surely it's good enough for military commanders on CNN, right?