Lower the bar

No surprise that Bill Kristol thinks the surge is working.  He cites the reduction in violence as well as the passing of a de-Baathification law as evidence.  First, the violence:

The Democrats were wrong in their assessments of the surge. Attacks per week on American troops are now down about 60 percent from June. Civilian deaths are down approximately 75 percent from a year ago. December 2007 saw the second-lowest number of U.S. troops killed in action since March 2003. And according to Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq, last month’s overall number of deaths, which includes Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties as well as U.S. and coalition losses, may well have been the lowest since the war began.

Before he gets to the other point (the one about politics–the goal of the surge after all), he snidely asks:

Do Obama and Clinton and Reid now acknowledge that they were wrong? Are they willing to say the surge worked?

The second question has a kind of complex question flavor to it: it's not a matter of willingness to say the surge worked, rather, it's a question of whether the surge has worked.  One can hardly be surprised that Kristol takes the slimmest of evidence of success as evidence of glorious success (he thinks the invasion of Iraq ought to serve as a template for the invasion of Iran, so for him the whole experience has been awesome).  But even he ought to realize that the political goals–what were called benchmarks–were the goals of the surge, kinda like the war and violence has a political objective.  Those goals, by any honest measure, have not been met.  The one Kristol mentions:

And now Iraq’s Parliament has passed a de-Baathification law — one of the so-called benchmarks Congress established for political reconciliation.

hardly counts.