Some journalists are not falling into line with the propaganda from the White House and Defense Department. They have the nerve to point out that the surge is not working (maybe a troop buildup is having an effect, but it is not the surge we were promised). Here is Michael Kinsley in Defining Victory Downward,*
But we needn't quarrel about all this, or deny the reality of the good news, to say that the surge has not worked yet. The test is simple, and built into the concept of a surge: Has it allowed us to reduce troop levels to below where they were when it started? The answer is no.
In fact, President Bush laid down the standard of success when he announced the surge more than a year ago: "If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home." At the time, there were about 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq. Bush proposed to add up to 20,000 more troops. Although Bush never made any official promises about a timetable, the surge was generally described as lasting six to eight months.
The proper comparison isn't to the situation a year ago. It's to the situation before we got there. Imagine that you had been told in 2003 that when George W. Bush finished his second term, dozens of American soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis would be dying violently every month; that a major American goal would be getting the Iraqi government to temper its "de-Baathification" campaign so that Saddam Hussein's former henchmen could start running things again (because they know how); and "only" 100,000 American troops would be needed to sustain this equilibrium. You might have several words to describe this situation, but success would not be one of them.Also Rolling Stone (of course), gives us The Myth of the Surge.
To show I am even handed, I will point you to another article. This writer tells us how we can still "win" in Iraq and Afghanistan (not just calm things down a bit- which is what the "surge" has done so far). Click here for more.
*if you want more interesting reads on the subject, scroll to the end of the article.