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Kevin Drum arranges some Brookings Iraq Index data into tables to allow for an apples-to-apples comparison of the summer 2006 to the summer of 2007 and discovers that the surge is working if your definition of "working" doesn't require a decrease in violence or an increase in the viability of Iraq's basic infrastructure. Of course, even if you saw continued deterioration on those fronts, you might still take solace in good news from the political front except that there . . . isn't any good news on the political front.

Last, I would remind readers that the summer of 2006 was worse than the summer of 2005 which, in turn, was worse than the summer of 2004. Meanwhile, at the time the summer of 2004 was conventionally considered to be very bad situation. We've managed to fail to badly that less-intense forms of failure now look like progress if you squint hard enough.

Given that Kevin's data just comes straight from the Brookings Iraq Index project, one wonders how it is that Brookings fellows like Peter Rodman, Michael O'Hanlon, and Kenneth Pollack seem so unaware of it. Surely the Brookings communications staff should be capable of getting this information into the hands of the organization's own staff.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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