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Jonathan Singer throws some much-needed skepticism on the notion that September will really mark a meaningful turning point away from the endless "six more months" dodging of the basic point that American policy in Iraq has failed. He notes, among other things, that there are 35,000 soldies from ten brigades scheduled to deploy to Iraq in August, in order to make it possible to sustain the "surge" through into 2008.

It's absolutely vital to keep in mind that since at least early 2004, a commencement of troop reductions in Iraq has been widely and repeatedly reported to be imminently in the offing. It keeps not happening and the best assumption is that it won't happen. Instead, the general trend is for the number of US troops in Iraq to go up. Barring a real sea change in the congressional Republican Party -- not just grumbling, you'd need to see a genuine structural shift in the power-relations inside the caucus -- this isn't going to change until someone else is sitting in the White House.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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