I think the “surge” is an empty gesture, which will enhance the standing of the Iraqi guerrilla/partisan forces when it is found to be wanting. Iraq is a political and not military problem. I’d say that to the extent anything is different it is the politics; the U.S. commander’s willingness to talk to some of the opposing factions promotes disunity in their ranks; this could have been done long ago at any time. The argument that the surge is working because of that is therefore an equivocation. This whole Iraq thing is not salvageable. Western experience in putting down native nationalist rebellion shows both what we have to do and that we have to do it nearly every generation. The essential thing is that no nationally self aware people welcome foreign military dominance in their land. Western 19th century experience has little utility because the various peoples had no western sense of nationhood initially, living mostly in chiefdom’s and tribal groups. Once a sense of nationality is operational it becomes intolerable to have foreigners rule. This essentially encapsulates European neo-colonialism from 1878 to the 1960’s. Additionally it becomes intolerable to have different nationalities in the same country, so ethnic cleansing, and this is further empowered by democracy. Just as the western Europeans shed a lot of blood to decide on their national boundaries, other peoples will do the same. Why should they have any less trouble than the British, French Germans, or Poles. A sense of Iraqi nationhood may come out of this stupid war should it go on long enough. There was no great yearning among Iraqi’s to become western democrats. We in the west have squandered blood and treasure for years in the Mideast; yet refuse to acknowledge the utter futility of it all. And each tranche leaves us worse off than before. I truly wonder at the operation of the human mind some times.