The Wash Post today includes an op-ed column by someone named Gary Anderson, who, the Post tells us at the bottom of his column, is a retired marine officer advising the Pentagon on the Iraqi insurgency.
The op-ed's first three paragraphs give us the kicker:
The adaptive Iraqi insurgency is running out of tricks, and like a cornered rat it is fighting back furiously. The recent spate of suicide bombings against Shiite civilians and the security services has many commentators wringing their hands and wondering what is going wrong. In reality, the question may be: What is going right?
Without a doubt, the insurgency has gotten a breather from the interim Iraqi government's slow start. It is also obvious that the leadership of the most active arm of the insurgency is primarily in the hands of foreign insurgents. The operational goal is to disrupt and demoralize the security services and to incite a sectarian civil war of revenge. This is not working.
The real danger is not that the insurgents will keep doing what they are doing; it is that they will change tactics. The insurgency in Iraq is shifting from being a fairly popular resistance against foreign occupation to a more classic brand that attempts to overthrow a struggling government. To put it another way, the root of the insurgency is drifting away, and the rebels need a new cause.
So, the insurgency is led mostly by a bunch of dead-enders from someplace else, the insurgency is not working, and, oh yeah, the insurgency is now directed against the Iraqi "government" and not the U.S. occupation.
I have a hard time believing the Post printed this. But then again, maybe it really isn't surprising. Of course, the administration and its media allies have been telling us for two years that the insurgents are desperate and their efforts to undermine our virtuous takeover of Iraq are failing.
But the delusion is going further. Some people actually believe there is an Iraqi government. The implication is we're just hanging around for a few more minutes until this "government" gets things up and running.
Some observers of Iraq measure progress there in terms of an election or in terms of the number of bomb attacks and casualties.
Here's my measure of progress: how many U.S. troops are there? If the number is more than 100,000 than things are not progressing.