They say that things are going very well there; that is, the surge is "working", even though nobody bothers to give a definition of what "working" actually means in this case.
Remember, the whole point of the surge was to give the Iraq government more breathing room to coalesce its government, and so that Iraqi troops could train and eventually take over their own internal security. When they "stand up", that’s when we’ll leave.
But guess what?
The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.
Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.
Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadir’s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.
Bottom line: We’re going to be in Iraq for a looooong time. Let me put it this way — whoever we elect as next president will be out of office before the troops leave Iraq (assuming, of course, that we go by Iraq’s timeline).
“The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but… We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.” — Paul Wolfowitz, 2003
UPDATE: And, aside from troop presence (and deaths) in Iraq, what’s going to be continued side-effect until 2018 (and beyond)? PTSD-fueled murders here in America.