A consensus us beginning to form around the idea that September really will be the critical moment to ramp up or ramp down the occupation of Iraq. When Kevin Drum and Byron York are reaching the same conclusion, it's a sure sign that a pivot is approaching. If Maliki is unable to deliver the goods by then, he'll never be able to deliver them; and if Petraeus is unable to show any serious military progress to complement a political compromise, the same applies. Kevin's logic makes sense to me:
The fact remains that five battalions is the best we can do, Petraeus is probably the best general available for this job, and congressional threats really are providing incentives to Iraqi leaders to resolve their differences.
The Democrats in this are actually potential allies of the president in pressuring the bickering Baghdad elites to make a deal. And voting for the Dems last November will mean one last chance for the Iraq project to stagger on. Or die. Better than interminable meandering - which is what a GOP-led Congress would have meant. Yes, we should keep our eyes on the ball this summer. But September is a sane and sensible moment for national cloture on the matter. And the sane Republicans - the ones who still have brains between their antennae - will have to make the call.