Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington and Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute said that though the momentum toward a peaceful and stable Iraq is tenuous, it is momentum nonetheless.
"These tremendous gains remain fragile and could be lost to skillful enemy action, or errors in Baghdad or Washington. But where the U.S. was unequivocally losing in Iraq at the end of 2006, we are just as unequivocally winning today," they write.
The authors point to the ousting of al-Qaida in Iraq's western Anbar province, the Iraqi military operations against insurgents in Basra, Sadr City and Mosul, and the slow march to democratic elections in October as signs of pronounced accomplishment.
The situation in Iraq is a fragile one, Kagan and Kagan note, and the U.S.-led effort there continues to play an important role in reconstruction and reconciliation.
"But success is in sight. Compared with the seemingly insurmountable obstacles already overcome, the remaining challenges in Iraq are eminently solvable -- if we continue to pursue a determined strategy that builds on success rather than throwing our accomplishments away. … Having come this far, we must see this critical effort through to the end," they conclude.