MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: THREE...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: THREE YEARS LATER. Three years is a long time, so it's no surprise that late last week there were once again press reports that a drawdown of American forces in Iraq was in the works. But, of course, we've heard that at least half a dozen times since the end of "major" combat operations. This account of building mock Iraqi villages in the Mojave desert so troops can practice fighting insurgents certainly doesn't sound like the sort of thing a military on its way out would be doing. Also, note that rumors of the adoption of an awesome new sophisticated counterinsurgency technique seem likewise exaggerated -- the shift in training people to fight dudes in tanks to dudes who hide in buildings is welcome, the emphasis is still on finding and killing the enemy rather than any deep understanding of how to stabilize the situation. This graphic in yesterday's "Week in Review" section reminding us of past moments of optimism in Iraq was a nice touch -- about the closest one's allowed to come to pointing out the inconvenient truth that this has been a lost cause for some time now.

--Matthew Yglesias

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