A number of factors contributed to that improvement; the new counterinsurgency methodology, more US troops, continuing emphasis on professionalizing Iraqi security forces and most importantly the great "awakening" of Sunni Arabs and Shia seculars to the unacceptability of takfiri jihadi intentions toward them. All of that went into making Iraq a more hopeful place. All of these tendencies are about restoring the modicum of national concord that grew in Iraq in the decades following British occupation of the place in World War One. None of it is about the Jacobin neocon fantasy of an Iraq made into a Western country, with Western values that is a staunch military ally of the United States and a Jordan/Egypt for Israel.
Nevertheless, on Fox News Sunday (FNS) today the egregious Fred Barnes and Billy Kristol, his less egregious but more mephistophelian boss at "The Weekly Standard," could not resist declaring an impending total victory in Iraq for the neocon goals enumerated above. Juan Williams, the token liberal on the weekly panel) tried to remonstrate with them citing the fragility of the present lull in hostility toward the US and its forces, but they would have none of that. Clearly, for them, their faith and perseverance have been rewarded, and now the dastardly Democrats (of uncertain patriotism – irony alert) are seeking to rob President Lincoln, oops!, Bush of the fruits of his long and noble struggle. According to them, a crushing victory in Iraq against Al-Kayda (sic) can still be counted on to make the Muslims all turn into something "wonderful." ("2001, A Space Odyssey" reference there)
Oh, yes, they also pronounced that "the Iranians have suffered a major defeat in Iraq." They have? How?
Amusingly, this "gang that can’t shoot straight" had just finished predicting victory for the despised "Democrat" party in November before they took up the Middle East question. Very odd.
I am sure that you will explain it to me. pl