One of the big alleged successes of the surge is much more tenuous than it might appear. Money quote:
[T]he Dora market is a Potemkin village of sorts. The U.S. military hands out $2,500 grants to shop owners to open or improve their businesses. The military has fixed windows and doors and even helped rebuild shops that had burned down, soldiers and others said.
"We helped them a lot. We gave them money, security, even the locks on their doors," said a 36-year-old Iraqi interpreter at the outpost whom U.S. soldiers call Jimmy for security reasons. He asked that his real name not be used. "Everything we gave them. That's why the violence has stopped. That's why they cooperate with us."
Some shopkeepers said they would not do business in the market without U.S. support. "The Americans are giving money, so they're opening up stores," said Falah Hassan Fadhil, 27, who sells cosmetics.
Buying temporary security is not the same as Iraqis providing it themselves. But in the security field,
"Iraqis" don't exist. Sunni tribes, Shiite militias and Kurdish parties are not an Iraqi government, and certainly not a national security force.