Violence remains white noise in Iraq at this point. Tom Ricks discusses his new book and the empirical reality some are simply ignoring:

I think the message of my book Fiasco was that Iraq 2006 was worse than you think, while the message of The Gamble is that Iraq 2009 isn't as good as you think.

The surge has brought us to an uncertain place. No one knows if there will be full-blown civil war in Iraq. Indeed, no one even knows the real strength of the Sadrists at this point. Or whether the Baghdad government indeed will keep its promises to bring into the fold the former Sunni insurgents who have been on the American payroll for the last 18 months. In fact, none, not one, of the major political questions that faced Iraq before the surge have been resolved--and the purpose of the surge, we were told, was to create the space to solve them.

My real worry is that all those tensions still exist, but all sides in Iraq are militarily stronger than they were a couple of years ago, because we have trained and armed a Shiite-dominated Iraqi army, but also helped organize the Sunni insurgents now known as the "Sons of Iraq."

But we "won", didn't we?

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