And here's what you need to know about the surge. The point of the surge was to create conditions on the ground that might help boost political reconciliation. Instead, Iraqis are less reconciled than ever. But don't call it a failure of the surge, it's not that a better surge would have worked. The issue is that it was the whole wrong diagnosis. Political problems were -- and are -- driving military problems and not the other way 'round.

Mark Kleiman, meanwhile, has a good suggestion based on Ambassador Ryan Crocker's view that "We are buying time at a cost of the lives of our soldiers." Just ask how many soldiers Bush really wants to see die in order to buy more time for Iraqi politicians.