When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail
While Washington is mired in political debate over the future of Iraq, the American command here has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant American role for the next two years.
The classified plan.... calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008. “Sustainable security” is to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, according to American officials familiar with the document.....
The goals in the document appear ambitious.....
Gee, I wonder if Petraeus' September report will support this plan.
There's a far bigger issue here and it reflects the poorly adapted tools the US has left to leverage events in Iraq. The problems in Iraq are political, not military, and although security is important, there's nothing but hope to think that security will lead to political reconciliation.
The thing is, the US no longer holds any sway over the Iraqi politicians and sectarian groups, so they're using the one poorly fitting tool available, security where US troops stand, in order to try and sway events in Iraq.
The very real politics of divvying up the power and resources are driving the conflict, and there's no indication that easing the violence, assuming that "ambitious" goal is reachable, will lead to political reconciliation.
As soon as the US leaves, the real battle for Iraq will begin.
(Later: I should probably note this is a Michael Gordon byline.)