Is the "surge" working? Both the American and the Iraqi governments have sounded a note of slight optimism recently. Even the news that the US is to send more troops to Iraq could be taken as a good sign – the original announcement of 21,500 extra troops was at the very low end of what "surge" advocates thought was necessary – so dispatching further troops could be a signal that the Bush administration really is committed to making this new strategy work. Robert Kagan, a neo-conservative academic (and brother of one of the intellectual architects of the surge plan) makes the case that the "surge" is already producing progress.
I would love to believe Kagan is right. But the Iraq Body Count project, which monitors the violence in Iraq more closely than any other impartial group, does not agree. Its latest weekly analysis shows no let up in the violence, and is the usual compilation of gut-wrenching stories. The Swoop foreign-policy analysis service asserts that President Bush is being told privately that the new strategy is not working.