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End the occupation of Iraq; send Fred Kagan to Vegas …

Joshua Holland: What every blackjack player knows.

Fred Kagan -- Robert's brother and a fellow dead-ender who plies his trade at the American enterprise Institute -- and retired General Jack Keane, a leading critic of the Iraq Survey Group, teamed up to explain the difference between a good "surge" of troops in Iraq and a bad one …

Estimates of the number of troops to be added in Baghdad range from fewer than 10,000 to more than 30,000. Some "surges" would last a few months, others a few years.

We need to cut through the confusion. Bringing security to Baghdad -- the essential precondition for political compromise, national reconciliation and economic development -- is possible only with a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so. Any other option is likely to fail.

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .

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