Tom Ricks takes note:

June was the bloodiest month of the war in Afghanistan, reports John McCreary, the former DIA analyst who follows the fighting there closely. This seems to be shifting to a war of roadside bombs, very different from the war of a few years ago.

And Iraq edges closer and closer to the violent disintegration that anyone with any sense of history could have predicted. It's important to remember that the surge failed. It failed to provide a political space to forge a new oil law; it failed to integrate the Awakening forces into an Iraqi army; it failed to solve the Kurdish problem; it failed to bring about a durable national government that all Iraqis could trust and participate in.

My fear is that by extending the presence of vast numbers of US troops well into his first term, by caving in to the Pentagon, by not making a clean break with his predecessor, Obama has now begun to own the very war he was nominated to end. If that happens he will lose the revanchist right (like he would ever have won them over) and his Democratic and realist base. I sure hope I'm wrong - that we can get out without an implosion, and that if things return to their baseline chaotic state, Obama won't be blamed, Bush and Cheney will (as they should). But pessimism is the default mode one should have with the basket-case of Iraq. Iran? You know: the country we didn't invade. Much more hopeful.

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