I've checked my January 2005 archives <Link> and things were popping and smoking for the election back then! Now, I’ve seen a column of smoke here and there recently, but explosions and attacks and even the base alarm all have been remarkably quiet, almost too quiet! My perceptions of things being better here match very well with this report in the news of just how well local security forces are doing, check it out! <Link> In short, the Iraqi forces are becoming very competent in confounding suicide attackers. They are becoming very well trained and are more proficient in spotting when someone is acting suspicious or is a foreigner.
Another sign of progress: It’s Ramadan and an election in two days and someone has only tried to bomb us once this month! Also, when we first got into our new building a year ago, we one day noticed a new spot of sunlight on the floor. Looking up, we saw a little hole up there and we wondered, did someone throw a screwdriver at the ceiling? But upon closer inspection (walking up on the roof) it was clear something, probably a bullet, had fallen from the sky and through our tin roof.
Twice more, a month or two inbetween, a new hole would appear. It seemed to happen during the night but we always wondered; would a bullet someday hit one of us in the cranium? Well, time has passed, I don’t think we’ve seen a new hole for 6 months. If we make it through the month of Ramadan/election with no more little holes, it will be a good sign indeed (and we’re grateful not to have to wonder about wearing our helmets at work).
I find this all to be happy news. I mean, I really want these guys to succeed. So far, so good.