In a TAP Online column, I make the point that the surge has already succeeded:

General David Petraeus' testimony Tuesday and Wednesday of this week will be another chapter in U.S. foreign policy's long-running "is the surge working?" debate. The General and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will offer up some good news counterpoints to the not-so-good news out of Basra from the last weekend of March. But in the ways that matter, there's no need to debate in the present tense -- the surge isn't working, it's already worked, and the question is what the Democrats plan to do about it.

To evaluate the surge, you have to consider its goals. Peter Feaver, who spent years working on the National Security Council on Iraq issues as a specialist on domestic public opinion, has explained in Commentary the administration's desire "to develop and implement a workable strategy that could be handed over to Bush's successor." Or as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden less charitably put it there's no plan at all other than "to muddle through and hand the problem off to his successor."

The real question, I argue, is whether or not the next Democratic president will resist taking the bait. The "residual forces" issue is still lurking out there, and if President Obama (or perhaps Clinton) agrees to grab the baton and take responsibility for Iraq it'll be a major blunder.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Jeremy M. Giacomino