More good news from Iraq - the flow of Iranian weapons into the south appears to have fallen sharply.
The Weekly Standard has just published a fascinating account of how the violence in Iraq has been brought sharply down.
You'd expect Bill Kristol's Standard to be positive. More surprising - and, I hope, more credible for BritainAndAmerica's more sceptical readers - is the continuing positivity of The Washington Post:
"The evidence is now overwhelming that the "surge" of U.S. military forces in Iraq this year has been, in purely military terms, a remarkable success. By every metric used to measure the war -- total attacks, U.S. casualties, Iraqi casualties, suicide bombings, roadside bombs -- there has been an enormous improvement since January. U.S. commanders report that al-Qaeda has been cleared from large areas it once controlled and that its remaining forces in Iraq are reeling. Markets in Baghdad are reopening, and the curfew is being eased; the huge refugee flow out of the country has begun to reverse itself. Credit for these achievements belongs in large part to U.S. soldiers in Iraq, who took on a tremendously challenging new counterterrorism strategy and made it work; to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the architect of that strategy; and to President Bush, for making the decision to launch the surge against the advice of most of Congress and the country's foreign policy elite."
That's the opening paragraph of the main editorial in this morning's Post but the leader doesn't stop there.
The Post is not blind to the scale of the unfinished task in Iraq. It worries that the space created by the Bush-Petraeus surge has not been used by Iraq's politicians to move towards a lasting settlement between the country's Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni populations. There's been next to no progress on the crucial issues of, for example, the distribution of oil revenues and the nature of federation. The Post's leader-writers criticise Secretary of State Rice for "passivity":
"There has been no visible effort by the administration to help Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker prod the recalcitrant politicians of Baghdad to act. The only high-profile diplomacy by the administration recently was aimed at heading off a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq. The White House and State Department seem to be turning their attention from Iraq at the very moment when they should be mounting a diplomatic offensive to secure concrete steps toward a political settlement. Such negligence would be another fateful mistake in the conduct of this war."
Too right. The Bush Presidency will be defined by Iraq. Bush and Rice needs to do much more to force the political pace in Baghdad.