ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END, THE BAD ONES JUST LAST FOREVER.

George Packer touched off a discussion yesterday with a comment suggesting that conditions in Iraq might be improving so much that Obama won't able to see through his ambitious withdrawal plan. This is very optimistic, to say the least, but even if Packer is right (and he almost certainly isn't), Obama sees the whole engagement as a bad strategic move, and is going to be able to make political headway by offering to shift the fight to Al Qaeda and Afghanistan.

The right, furthermore, is going to be hard pressed to explain to a very war-weary public why, if things are going so well, we need to remain in the country. But given the continuing lack of political progress and resulting violence, I also think Packer and friends are talking about improvement too soon -- the number of troops killed rose from May to June.

Bonus Morning Tidbit: Forcing myself to watch Hardball last night, I received the dubious pleasure of hearing Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom claim, on McCain's behalf, that "judgement was calling for a surge when no one else was."

--Tim Fernholz

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