It's not Petraeus' report that matters. It's Crocker's.
The important part, the element that is fuelling the long term sectarian violence in Iraq, is the political leg of the operation, and success there is actually getting further and further away.
On Charlie Rose last night, the top ABC reporter in Iraq said something along the lines of, "the lack of political progress shows the underlying conceit of the surge, the idea that a temporary improvement in security would lead to political progress."
It's not Petraeus' report that matters come September. It's Crocker's report on the political progress.
But that result is complicated, foreign, and not very going well. America wants a nice, easily definable, USAToday style upward pointing graph, not a complex presentation of the political issues and factions that have made "the surge" moot.
I mean, really, in all the mentions of Moqtada al Sadr on your newscasts, how many times have you ever heard the political disputes that led him out of the government? Have you ever heard why the Mahdi and SIIC are so politically divided that they are fighting open street battles in Basra?
Did you know that Maliki's own Dawa party is the main opponent of deBaathification and political reconciliation with the Sunnis?
But we're all being told to watch for Petraeus' military report, a nice little line graph that will fit cleanly on the front pages.
The Iraqis don't care how many US soldiers die. It has nothing to do with their war.