The Washington Times - November 14, 2007, 10:44AM
No one is declaring victory, but cautious optimists on the U.S.-led war in Iraq suddenly find themselves armed with a growing number of indicators that the fighting has taken a new, more hopeful turn.

U.S. military fatalities are down sharply, from 101 in June to 39 in October. Iraqi civilian deaths also were down sharply, from 1,791 in August to 750 in October, according to the Associated Press. Mortar rocket attacks by insurgents in October were the lowest since February 2006, as were the number of “indirect fire” attacks on coalition forces.\ Iraqi officials say they plan to reduce checkpoints, ease curfews and reopen some roads in and around Baghdad because of the improving security situation. Sunni Arab tribal leaders in western Anbar province, now allied with the U.S. military, say al Qaeda is “almost defeated” in their once-chaotic region. — David Eldridge, managing editor,