A reader nails it:

I don't have any doubt - and really, never did - that increasing the use of (and apparently, more properly deploying) American troops would reduce violence in Iraq.  And I think that although Bush did this belatedly and only in response to political pressure he deserves (along with Gates and Petraeus) to be applauded for that.

But what does that have to do with the goals of the war?

As I understand it, we don't have a military goal - we have a hope that the Iraqis are able to put together a democratic government that is capable of unifying and securing the country.  That has nothing to do with whether there is a lot or not a lot of violence in Iraq.

Remember, we started out with a specific military objective - remove the Hussein regime.  We hoped that if we achieved this military objective, the Iraqis would put together a democratic government that could unify and secure the country.  We achieved the objective, but the Iraqis did not fulfill our hopes. Now, instead of a military objective, we have a military activity - maintaining security.

Or if you want, say that we have a "military objective" - reducing violence.  It doesn't matter, really.  Again, we hope that if we do a good job of maintaining security/reducing violence the Iraqis will put together a democratic government that can unify and secure the country.

Again, there's not the slightest reason in the world to think that the Iraqis will fulfill our hopes.

Is there some earthly reason to think that the Iraqis are more likely to put together a democratic government that is capable of unifying and securing the country just because they have some relative peace and quiet?  Why would that matter?

Again, it's a 1960s fantasy.

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