With their usual consensus driven sense of what is true and what is not, the media have bought into the idea that the improved combat situation in Iraq is the result of "The Surge." If by that is meant the increased number of troops present in Iraq this last year, I can only say that the judgment of the media on this subject as on so many others is just silly.
Yes, more troops made possible a more complete application of Petraeus’ revival of counter-insurgency methods and that was a plus, but that does not mean that the increased number of troops would have produced a similar result without the basic change in strategy.
In addition, the Sunni Revolt against the takfiri jihadis lies at the very heart of what has changed in Iraq. That revolt reached the point of "critical mass" at a time in which many people succeeded in convincing the American command in Iraq that predestination might be a feature of religious thought for many Americans but the idea of redemption as a possibility for insurgents would probably be a better operational approach. This serendipity (revolt plus counter-insurgency methods) made the difference this year in Iraq, not more infantry. Once again, the additional infantry were useful, but only that.
It is reasonably said by some that none of this matters because the underlying social and political causes of the internal problem in Iraq have not been solved. That is true, but I haven’t given up on the possibility yet. pl