In thinking out loud about the surge, it seems to me that the arguments of Petraeus could logically lead to two opposite conclusions: a) that the tactical military gains have obviously not led to political conciliation and so the entire project should be scrapped and we should cut our losses; or b) we have enough tactical military success to suggest that the theory is not insane that less violence could lead to political progress. So, in the case of b), there's an obvious follow-up: add many more troops. If the surge is working as they claim, why should we not amplify its success by expanding its reach? If Bush were arguing for 300,000 troops to pacify the entire country effectively, and use such numbers for classic counter-insurgency, I could understand the logic.

Instead we have the notion that the surge has succeeded somewhat and so we will now take the military presence back to 2006 levels. That makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Why would we return now to the policy of 2003 - 2007? The police and Iraqi army are as incapable of picking up the slack as they were three years ago. And the national government commands less authority.

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