Greg Djerejian surveys the wreckage:

And so it went, with the fundamental strategic reality little acknowledged, namely, that Iraq cannot be stabilized without political reconciliation between Sunnis and Shia, that Kurdish federalism (notably Kirkuk) remains a massive sleeper issue, and that no regional diplomatic approach to integrate our Iraq efforts into the larger strategic situation was being addressed with requisite seriousness. But little matter, Petraeus festooned with medals looked good, as did the no-nonsense demeanor of Crocker. The upshot: we’d keep surging then (like the gravity-defying markets, no one can keep Surge Nation down)!

The default option is in place: policing a Middle East empire for the indefinite future, broken piece of Iraq by broken piece of Iraq. But, hey, maybe things will improve. What else can we have but baseless optimism?

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