Did the postmen give up?

Looking through Brookings Iraq Index for something else entirely, I came across this baffling table. The amount of post sent each year in Iraq:

Year Tons of mail
2001 148 tons sent (231 received)
2003 37 tons sent
2004 43 tons sent
2005 54 tons sent

Huh? Use of the postal system is a third of what it was under Saddam? Why on earth would that be the case?
Granted, dodgy statistics are the most likely culprit – the figures are sourced to an article in the New York Times, and its quite likely that the Baath figure is dodgy for some reason or other. Odder still: somehow the Times writer interprets the figures as “evidence of recovery“.
Still, it’d be nice to think there’s some mystery in those numbers, waiting to be uncovered.

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