Although it really depends on where you live…
Because, if by “working” you mean creating a surge of violence elsewhere in Iraq, you’d be right:
My latest analysis shows that there is good news and bad news from Iraq concerning the troop surge. The good news is that casualties in Baghdad have come down very substantially. The bad news is that casualties elsewhere in Iraq have increased substantially.
Hardly surprising: with plenty of warning, and no desire to work harder than necessary to blow up innocent people real good, it makes sense that al Qaeda would look for easier pickin’s (i.e. people who live where there is no surge).
Naturally, certain yahoo elements of the right just can’t help but spin:
By any objective measure, the surge has had a positive effect on Baghdad. Civilian casualties are down sharply since January; execution style deaths are half of what they were; and other killings have declined by almost the same factor.
“Security in Baghdad” is the same as “security in Iraq” in much the same way as “I’ve been to London” is the same as “I’ve done Europe.” Yes, you have that nice, little stamp in your passport, but you’re still a dipshit.
Don’t forget, dear readers, I supported this war in the beginning – and I still think we need to find a way to win, even if it is just leaving behind a somewhat stable Iraq, as disappointing as that will be compared to what other noble aims some may have had. We owe it to the people of Iraq to help them at least see a path to a better life.
Perhaps if the Bush administration had not waited for several years and a Republican-kick-in-the-ass election to admit that Iraq was not all roses and puppy dogs and picnics in the park with Julie, things would have been different.
Now, here’s the crazy part of my post.
There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not we should establish a timeline for the withdrawl of American troops. On the one hand, it would show our commitment is not open-ended and perhaps force the Iraqi government to step up in unison to forge a better nation for its people. On the other, it is said that it would tell the insurgents and terrorists to law low until we leave, to bide their time.
My question: is that such a bad thing?
Could we use that relative lull in the action to significantly improve the lot of the average Iraqi? Could we complete more public works, and could more people get back to a semblance of normal life such that, when it came time to leave, the people would be as committed to this fight as any U.S. soldier there? Could we better identify, train, and equip the people of Iraq to defend themselves?
If not, then the assertion that the insurgents would lie low is empty rhetoric.
If not, then we should give up any hope of the Iraqis ever being responsible for their own security.
And, you know, if it came time to withdraw and the Iraqis needed a little help for a little longer… hey, that’s what friends are for.