Cut but don't run too fast. Bribe the Sunni Arab governments to keep Iraq from falling apart. Install a Sunni in Baghdad. Allawi? Get an Israel-Palestinian deal of sorts. Pray. That's Douglas Davis' take in the Spectator of London. Sounds pretty desperate to me, and I have no knowledge if it's for real. It may well be the case that we need to firm up the Sunnis to avoid a total collapse or genocide. But trying to prop up a Sunni regime in a Shia majority country we liberated seems to me a fool's errand. Whatever else we fought for, it wasn't to keep the Saudis happy.

There are also rumors, however, of something quite surprising that might happen in September. Petraeus may disappoint Hewitt and the Weimar brigade and call for a serious but gradual drawdown of troops along the lines of Warner and Lugar. The reason is an obvious one: the total impasse on the political front and military deployment limits. The Maliki government is more dysfunctional than ever; and its sectarian agenda harder to conceal. It would take some sort of miracle to extend surge-level forces beyond next March. Such a drawdown, of course, is perilous and could well lead to even more violence and mayhem in Iraq, which may, in turn, mean the need to accelerate withdrawal. Will we have another Vietnam-style rush to the helicopters? It would mean a lot of helicopters and a serious rush.

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