It was the crescendo of an otherwise flat State of the Union address. "Ladies and Gentlemen," President George W. Bush declared Monday night, "some may deny the surge is working, but among terrorists there is no doubt." Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), The Hill reported, rose in applause.
Bush's speech was one of the more restrained descriptions of the surge--last year's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq. In recent weeks, politicians and commentators have moved beyond saying the surge is working to the blunter declaration that the surge "worked," full-stop. Bill Kristol, declaring Gen. David Petraeus his Man of the Year, wrote in a Weekly Standard editorial, "We are now winning the war. " In his New York Times column, Kristol challenged the Democratic candidates to "say the surge worked." On Jan. 10, the first anniversary of the surge, the GOP presidential front-runner, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), co-wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined, flatly, "The Surge Worked."