From my perspective, the
He quoted a high-level
Cordesman describes “positive trends in the fighting” and indications of future political progress. Any “successes” that have been touted by the war supporters would not have been realized by increased troop numbers alone. “[T]he original strategy President Bush announced in January would have failed if it had not been for the Sunni tribal awakening.” (That awakening was accompanied by a lot of free guns. And a lot of ammo.) He goes on to say that there is a “tenuous case for strategic patience” and that he believes that tying reductions in forces to political progress without timetables is the preferable “exit strategy” but he realizes that banking on strategic patience is a high-stakes game, and as is characteristic of high-stakes games…luck is a fickle factor.
(Note: Since he prepared his report and made this assessment, hundreds of thousands of residents of Baghdad have lost power and water in 120º heat, and five more Cabinet members have bolted from the Maliki government and the Cabinet can no longer reach a quorum to approve legislation to the Parliament.)