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A nation must think before it acts.
President Bush’s surge strategy intends to use the might of the U.S. military to establish secure conditions in Iraq under which the promise of political progress will be realized. The U.S. military used this approach in the past when the U.S. Fallujah Offensive of late 2004 established security for the Iraqi Election Cycle in 2005. But the promise of political progress for insurgents was not fulfilled in 2006 upon formation of the Maliki government, and they resorted to extreme levels of violence in response, killing 1,080 U.S. troops during the 12 months ending September 2007, more than in any other comparable period. In the second half of Year 5, from September 2007 through the fifth anniversary of the war on March 19, 2008, U.S. forces in cooperation with Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias helped improve security conditions once again. But unless the surge’s promise of political progress is fulfilled, the patience of the insurgents and militias is likely to dissipate and violence will increase once again in Year 6.