This question is getting asked a lot lately. What’s the answer? First off, my disclaimer:

I am NOT a military strategist, I do not profess to know everything (or even a moderate amount) about this war in Iraq. I would advise against listening to anyone who says they DO know everything about this war. Like you, I would like to be more knowledgeable about this conflict, and so I do my research, and I present it to you. It’s likely that any analysis is partly incorrect. This is due to a lack of complete information on my part, and on the part of the my sources. I doubt that any person or entity even comes close to having complete information about this conflict. That’s why it’s so difficult to “win”, there are a million different variables to control for in order to bring about the desired result.

Back to my previous question, “Is the surge working?” It’s likely to early to tell. Petraeaus has said that it will be late summer before the effectiveness of the surge will begin to show. While we’re waiting for August to roll around, it would be helpful to determine which factors that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the surge. To do this, let’s look at the desired end result. What would a “win” in Iraq look like? For me, a win would be for Iraq to develop a strong infrastructure, with healthy institutions of education and government, and a developing economy. All of these factors are dependent on the ability of civilians to feel safe to move freely, and for Iraqis to believe that their private property is protected. Indicators of improvement in the above institutions would include increased rates of literacy and graduation, high voter turnout,  and decreased government corruption, among other statistics. So, I’ll be picking through news reports for this information over the coming months. These indicators, rather than decreased/increased loss of life (terrible as it is) will better reveal whether or not the surge will succeed.