Sometimes, it takes courage to speak the bleeding obvious:

"I will tell you personally that I think it was probably a mistake going to Iraq."

I don't know any sane observer who doesn't believe that. It does not mean, however, that immediate withdrawal is the best policy. The arguments for the war and for occupying the place indefinitely are logically and strategically separate, if related, questions. It seems to me that you could have been for the war but against the surge; or even against the war and for the surge; or against both or for both. But it is also possible for people in every camp to believe that the invasion was a mistake. The question before us is whether continuing to occupy Iraq for another few decades lessens or compounds the original error. That's an empirical question. I'm inclined to believe, as regular readers now, that it compounds the error, but I don't think that's self-evident; and I've been struggling with it in my waking moments this past week. More to come.

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