If this is success, what is failure?

Gen. Petraeus may declare Iraq's Nineveh province safe enough for U.S. troops to pull out. Anyone seen the news today?

Published August 15, 2007 1:01PM (EDT)

When Gen. David Petraeus issues his report on the "surge" in September, Bush administration officials expect him to recommend removing American troops from parts of Iraq where U.S. military commanders believe security has improved, the Los Angeles Times reports this morning.

Two caveats worth noting.

First, as the Times notes, "It it does not necessarily follow that Petraeus would call for reducing the overall number of troops in the country. Instead, he could move them to another hot spot, or use them to create a reserve force to counter any rise in violence."

Second, one of the areas from which commanders have indicated that it "might be suitable for the U.S. to withdraw" is the Nineveh province in northern Iraq. If you know your Iraqi geography -- we looked it up -- you'll know that Tuesday's devastating truck bombings occurred there.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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