Is it working?
The San Francisco Chronicle had an article up a couple of days ago about the impact of the “surge” of U.S. forces in Iraq:
Some analysts believe that the United States is merely helping warring factions arm themselves during a lull in violence that will explode again once the surge ends as planned by summer – around the time Democrats and Republicans hold their national party conventions. Others say Iraq is on the brink of a long-sought cease-fire that will allow the U.S. military to serve as a classic peacekeeping force stabilizing Iraq and the region.
There is no question that violence in Iraq has ebbed since the troop surge announced by Bush in January reached its full capacity in June with about 162,000 troops. Even Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House subcommittee that controls defense spending, a key ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and a leading Democratic opponent of the war, recently returned from Iraq saying, “I think the surge is working.”
Violence has receded to the levels of January 2006, before the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra set off a sectarian civil war between Shiites and Sunni. By many accounts, al Qaeda in Iraq has been hammered. Sunni tribes, many of them former insurgents, have turned against al Qaeda in Iraq in what is called the Sunni awakening.
Does this moderate degree of progress on the military front change anyone’s thinking about the appropriate timetable for the withdrawl of U.S. forces?