Assessment, assessment, I love you, assessment, you're always a Friedman away!
By the way, I think even tom Friedman, the man who said "the next six months is critical" for so long that Atrios named the period of six months after him, is getting tired of the occupation:
It seems to me that we should stick to what we were told in the first place.
The surge can be definitively judged by September - eight long months and several thousand deaths after it began; it should be judged by exactly the same criteria the administration and Congress agreed upon in the first place; and the key criterion should be movement toward a political settlement, evidence that a national Iraqi government can begin to stand alone, as a unifying force in what was once Iraq. If there is evidence of a political breakthrough by then, if there are clear signs that the Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds are reconstituting a viable national government and want the US to stay to help them, then that is one thing. If we are supposed to judge the surge a success based on military progress against 5 percent of the insurgency, no deal. This al Qaeda stuff is so obvious and transparent a piece of distraction it should be treated as the tiniest factor that it is. It's not about Iraq or about America. It is about rescuing the Republican party and saving face for Bush and Cheney. It's about constructing a new narrative to rescue a failed policy. We are not that stupid. No young Americans should die for such partisan posturing, however coopted the military has become, however awful the immediate future is.
If we had a president we could trust, it would be one thing. We don't.
We owe Iraqis our best military — and diplomatic effort — to avoid the disaster of walking away. But if they won’t take advantage of that, we owe our soldiers a ticket home.