Surge: Success or Standstill?

Post columnists stake out opposing stances
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2008 4:11 PM CST
Surge: Success or Standstill?
American soldiers hold defensive positions as they patrol central Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008 a year after the US President ordered a surge in troops numbers to battle the raging violence in the capital. Insurgent attacks have dropped more than 60 percent across Iraq since a crackdown on insurgents...   (Associated Press)

The year-old troop surge in Iraq has Washington Post op-ed columnists at odds, with Charles Krauthammer saying it’s unreasonable to call it a failure and Michael Kinsley arguing it can’t be deemed a success. The former points to changed hearts and minds, anecdotes of emotional reconciliation, legislation that furthers a federal state and the good spirits of former war critics.

Kinsley doesn’t dispute the positive aspects, but he contends that numbers quantify success. President Bush said a troop increase from 130,000 to 150,000 would last for only 6 to 8 months, followed by a reduction to 100,000 by his term’s end. But there are still 150,000 service members in Iraq, and no sign of change—a sure bellwether of failure, Kinsley writes. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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