Mark Bowden ("Democrats lagging behind Iraq war times" Feb. 29, Page B-7) claims the "surge" in U.S. troops is what brought down the casualties, military and civilian. Most observers agree that the surge was just one factor; two others are the Sunni resistance against al-Qaida and its extremist and bloodthirsty approach, and the order by the Shiite religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr to his army to observe a cease-fire.
Most analysts agree that the core issues haven't been resolved, that both the Sunnis and the Shiites are still determined to destroy the other side, and that the Iraqi government is still corrupt and ineffective.
If the situation in Iraq has dramatically improved, then there would not be any need for U.S. troops there other than a few thousand advisers and trainers. Then Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's plans to withdraw most of our troops will make a lot of sense. But if Bowden is wrong and the situation deteriorates, then the surge will have failed and keeping our troops there is a waste of our money and our soldiers. Only militarists like President Bush and John McCain would like to keep our troops there for the next 100 years.