Another Petraeus graph: showing again that the "surge," the Anbar tribe turn-around and the decision of Shiite militias to hold back while Maliki consolidates Shiite power have reduced the energy of the insurgency to levels of ... eighteen months ago. I don't see this as an end to the civil war, just an abatement. If you were worried about the insurgency in 2004, three years later, it is far, far stronger - and the political center has collapsed entirely. The tactical gains of the surge seem to have prevented a slide into an abyss - but not much more can be said at this point. And the announced aim of the surge - political reconciliation - has failed.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to