The British are starting to pull troops out of Iraq, and the Bush Administration is calling it a "sign of progress".
That might be true in normal circumstances, meaning one in which the war wasn't being run by incompentent buffoons. If all of Iraq was as tranquil as Basra, it would be reason to chisel President Bush's clueless mug alongside Jefferson's and Roosevelt's on Mount Rushmore.
In reality the country is in a death spiral, with no reason to believe things are getting better. There are reports that the Shiite death squads are lying low, but only President Bush thinks it's out of deference to American resolve. In truth, the militias are waiting for the US military to weaken the Sunni insurgency, so the ensuing ethnic cleaning will be easier.
Obviously, no matter how grim the news from Iraq, the administration will find a silver lining. Optimism is fine, but needs to be tempered by reality. Insurgents are now using chlorine gas bombs to exterminate civilians. Silver lining? They haven't figured out how to properly disperse the gas, since most of it burns up in the accompanying explosion. More good news? Iraq's technical schools are secure enough to train bright, innovative chemical engineering grads who will get it right.