What happened
A new Democratic proposal to bring most U.S. troops home from Iraq would leave tens of thousands of soldiers in the country for several years. (Associated Press). American military commanders are preparing to give U.S. forces an expanded role in the training and support of Iraqis who will provide security once the U.S. withdraws. (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
U.S. officials have been touting statistics suggesting a sharp violence in insurgent attacks recently, said Mark Kukis in, but bombings are still a regular part of life for Iraqis. “Life in some parts of the city has taken on an air of normalcy, with shops and restaurants open at night. But even if the current level of calm holds, Baghdad remains the center of one of the bloodiest realms on Earth on any given day.”

War critics should stop harping on the Iraqi government’s failure to reach a few benchmarks, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post (free registration). They don’t have the oil and de-Baathification laws they need, it’s true, but all the “hard-won” security gains show there’s hope. The original path to victory hit a detour, but “it’s folly” to give up “when a different route, more arduous but still doable, is at hand and demonstrably working.”

Who’s talking about giving up? said Emory University psychology professor Drew Westen in The New Republic Online. “You don't have to cut off funding of the war precipitously to end the war. Just make the president pay for it: Demand that he show the courage (and use that word, with all its military connotations) to tell us who the Republican Iraq War Tax Increase Act of 2007 will target to pay for this war, because right now it is being paid for by our children and grandchildren.”