It gets tiresome explaining this to Andrew Sullivan–and others–but pretending that the surge in Iraq was designed to bring about political reconciliation plainly involves moving goalposts. The surge was designed to secure Iraq from sectarian violence; any political reconciliation that occurs in the aftermath of that would stem from the work done by politicians and diplomats, not by soldiers and generals. If the political and diplomatic class fails to bring about political reconciliation, that does not mean that the counterinsurgency strategy adopted by the United States in Iraq failed. In related news, the surge was not designed to cure cancer, grow hair on my head, achieve cold fusion, or help my beloved Cubs win the World Series. One hopes that Sullivan won’t claim otherwise, though with Sullivan, one can never be confident that rigorous argumentation will prevail at the end of the day.
Oh, and if Iraq devolves into violence in the aftermath of the pullout of American troops, it may well be because the troops were pulled out precipitously. And we know whom to blame for that, now don’t we?