Published March 12, 2007
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To surge or not to surge, that question is over. The surge is on, despite what some in Congress may want. And guess what? It seems to be working.
I know, I know. Don't speak too soon, John. OK, it may be working. It would be nice if it kept working, too.
What's the evidence? Well, a few writers have been talking about it in the newspapers. Even Ted Koppel spoke up over the weekend saying it didn't look good that some were trying to make hay against the surge and the current effort in Iraq without giving it a chance.
There are other indicators than just people who have been generous with their criticism in the past and are suspiciously quiet now. Muqtada al-Sadr cleared out of Iraq and is hiding in Iran because he didn't want to get shot. His Mahdi Army commanders are also suddenly invisible, having got out of dodge and have just gone to ground.
If our opponents in Iraq are afraid of a surge in troops and a change in the rules of engagement, shouldn't we be pleased? No doubt there are insurgents who still make their murderous trouble. The weekend death toll is testimony enough to that.
But Robert Kagan writing in The Washington Post talks about a couple of Iraqi bloggers he corresponds with regularly and they are starting to see results in their own Baghdad neighborhoods. The sectarian checkpoints disappear, the insurgents are less likely to brazenly assert authority over a neighborhood, people out and about. Evidence such as that suggests something of a change.
Far be it from me to speak too soon, however. I will hold back on my cheering for now, and quietly go about my business hoping the good news lasts.
Ultimately, the way out of Iraq for American troops is the Iraqi government and Iraqi troops succeed. We all hope for that. So we are buying them some time to organize themselves to stand up against troublemakers and that is a good thing for us to do.
I certainly hope there is nobody in this country hoping the surge fails. Even if you think it might fail — because so much has failed before — it would be taking domestic politics too far to actually hope for our side to be defeated. And I do realize there are a lot of people who hate Bush, but that would be taking the run of hating Bush too far, wouldn't it?
That's My Word.
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