Petraeus: The Surge Has Failed

He has done amazingly with security and is clearly an American hero for rescuing a botched invasion. Those of us who believed his metrics and worried about his ability to deliver with the troops he had available have been disproved by events. But the critical, central goal of the surge, according to its architects and the president, was to create a space for Iraqi national reconciliation. It hasn't happened:

Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.

Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.

He thinks there's still time for action. But as violence stabilizes and even grows in some places, and as the surge peaks or declines, the window is narrowing. And what then?