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Iraq: What comes after the surge?
With new military figures showing violence falling in Iraq, said Joe Klein in Time.com, President Bush is blowing the chance to leave Iraq a winner. The ones who have blown it in Iraq are the jihadis, said Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Al Qai
W
hat happened
The U.S. military reported Sunday that the number of attacks in Iraq last week was the lowest since February 2006, adding to evidence that violence has dropped significantly since the “surge” of American reinforcements sent early this year. (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
President Bush is blowing the perfect opportunity to leave Iraq a winner, said Joe Klein in Time.com's Swampland blog. The U.S. could use a “carefully managed withdrawal” to “force the Iraqis” to make peace with each other. “Bush's inability to take advantage of this moment is the latest example of the witless, lethal ineptitude that he has exhibited from the start on Iraq.”

Someone has blown it in Iraq, said Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but it isn’t President Bush. “Jihadis, money and weapons were poured into Iraq. All for naught. Al-Qaida has been driven from every neighborhood in Baghdad.”

There’s no question that the surge has been, “in purely military terms, a remarkable success,” said The Washington Post in an editorial (free registration), but victory isn’t assured. Democrats in Congress are trying to “abort” our battlefield strategy despite its success, and the Bush administration seems to be turning its attention from Iraq right when a “diplomatic offensive” could yield “concrete steps toward a political settlement.”

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