The real surge in Afghanistan isn’t the 30,000 additional troops President Obama sent there last year, but the 400% hike in close-air support missions from 2004 to 2010. Over that same time span, the number of weapons deployed on those missions ballooned from 86 to 5,101 — a 5,800% increase. You can track the trend in the chart above, in the first three rows of figures under Afghanistan.
Further west, in Iraq, there were only eight weapons fired during close-air support missions in 2010. But even in 2007, the peak year for bombing missions in Iraq, the total number of weapons released was only 1,708, less than half the Afghan tally last year. Bottom line: if you’re an insurgent, you’re safer off hiding in cities (Iraq) where the greater chance of innocent civilian deaths deters such attacks, than in the mountains (Afghanistan).