Surge: Success or Standstill?

Post columnists stake out opposing stances
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2008 4:11 PM CST
American soldiers hold defensive positions as they patrol central Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008 a year after the US President ordered a surge in troops numbers to battle the raging violence in...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The year-old troop surge in Iraq has Washington Post op-ed columnists at odds, with Charles Krauthammer saying it’s unreasonable to call it a failure and Michael Kinsley arguing it can’t be deemed a success. The former points to changed hearts and minds, anecdotes of emotional reconciliation, legislation that furthers a federal state and the good spirits of former war critics.

Kinsley doesn’t dispute the positive aspects, but he contends that numbers quantify success. President Bush said a troop increase from 130,000 to 150,000 would last for only 6 to 8 months, followed by a reduction to 100,000 by his term’s end. But there are still 150,000 service members in Iraq, and no sign of change—a sure bellwether of failure, Kinsley writes.