The U.S. is testing the gains made with this year’s troop buildup by bringing home the first wave of soldiers sent during the “surge.” President Bush sent 30,000 extra troops in mid-February, and over the last two months U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths have fallen sharply.
What the commentators said
Suddenly the U.S. media has forgotten about Iraq, said Ralph Peters in the New York Post (free registration). “Why? Because things are going annoyingly well.” All those reporters, editors, and producers who sneered at the surge and “predicted—longed for—an American defeat” no longer have anything to say now that the big news is that roadside bomb attacks have fallen by half.
The progress has left congressional Democrats flummoxed, too, said the New York Daily News in an editorial. Instead of responding to “facts on the ground,” they continue trying to “ram through” “pull-out-of-Iraq” bills, one after another. These “symbolic measures” are “increasingly counterproductive and will likely come back to haunt the party.”
Democrats are already “confronting some demoralizing arithmetic on Iraq,” said Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris in The Politico. They’ve forced 40 votes on limiting Bush’s war policy, and lost every time but once. And Bush simply vetoed that bill. But “both sides must contemplate the most dispiriting piece of Iraq arithmetic of all”—this has already been the deadliest year of the war for our soldiers.
Conservative war supporters just “see what they want to see,” said Brian Katulis in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). But civilian deaths may be down because refugees have fled by the thousands. And Iraq's “mutliple civil wars” are no closer to peaceful resolution than they were before the surge.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2014
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
Subscribe to the Week