The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real.
And from Newsweek, via Dinocrat:
eturning to Baghdad after an absence of four months, I can actually say that things do seem to have gotten better, and in ways that may even be durable. “It’s hard to believe,” says a friend named Fareed, who has also gone and come back over the years to find the situation always worse, “but this time it’s really not.”
So the following observations do not come so much from the brass: Al Qaeda in Iraq is starting to look like a spent force, especially in Baghdad. The civil war is in the midst of a huge, though nervous, pause. Most Shiite militias are honoring a truce. Iran appears to have stopped shipping deadly arms to Iraqi militants. The indigenous Sunni insurgency has declared for the Americans across broad swaths of the country, especially in the capital.