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In his eagerness to justify a decision not to send more troops to Afghanistan, the president is playing one of the oldest games in the book — defining success downward and pretending that nothing at all has changed.

But some things very real are indeed changing — the definitions of victory and defeat.

• Kim R. Holmes, a former assistant secretary of state for international organizations, is a vice president at the Heritage Foundation ( and author of “Liberty’s Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century.”