I've been thinking about Iraq and the surge, and I should say right away that I really don't know what I'm talking about. But that's never stopped me before, has it?
Here's the timeline of what our leaders have been saying:
Before the surge: We need the surge to get violence down and create political stability so we can leave Iraq.
Now: The surge is working, so we can stay in Iraq indefinitely.
As long as we were saying that a drop in violence would lead to the US leaving Iraq, the violent extremists who want us out had an incentive to reduce their level of violence. Now that we're not saying that anymore, their incentive is gone, and violence is going back up.
Obviously, there are complications and nuances of virtually infinite depth at work here, but this is the blurry 10,000 foot view as it appears to me.