Ackerman looks at the latest numbers from Iraq:

This is the most stunning poll I’ve seen from Iraq since the war began not just because so many Iraqis think things are improving, but because the wide margins who think things are improving don’t translate into greater approval for the U.S. occupation. In fairness, ever since ABC started polling in Iraq in 2004, their polls have shown Iraqis to be a confident people, even during the 2005 through mid-2007 depths of hell. But even so, Iraqis think things are a lot better than they were a year or two ago. But that doesn’t mean they like the United States any better.

The poll is a real and genuine sign of the security gains made after one of the worst bouts of sectarian killing and mayhem in Iraq's modern history. If it holds, and a ramshackle democracy of sorts does not capsize, then the debate about Iraq will doubtless find a new equilibrium. But it's not defeatist to note that this poll occurs with 140,000 US troops still there and not likely to move much until next year. The proof of the pudding will be 2011.

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