"In an interview, he (BG Brooks) said that while military planners had expected to make greater gains by now, that has not been possible in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly.
That is forcing American commanders to conduct operations to remove insurgents from some areas multiple times. The heavily Shiite security forces have also repeatedly failed to intervene in some areas when fighters, who fled or laid low when the American troops arrived, resumed sectarian killings.
“Until you have the ability to have a presence on the street by people who are seen as honest and who are not letting things come back in,” said General Brooks, referring to the Iraqi police units, “you can’t shift into another area and expect that place to stay the way it was.”
When planners devised the Baghdad security plan late last year, they had assumed most Baghdad neighborhoods would be under control around July, according to a senior American military officer, so the emphasis could shift into restoring services and rebuilding the neighborhoods as the summer progressed.
“We were way too optimistic,” said the officer, adding that September is now the goal for establishing basic security in most neighborhoods, the same month that Bush administration officials have said they plan to review the progress of the plan." NY Times
Yes, Kevin, the war is a contest of wills. Having said that, it is also true that American popular support for the war will not continue if the methods being used do not appear to be effective.
So far, there is little non-PR evidence that the Kagan/Keane/Petraeus plan is "clearing" Baghdad of insurgent and militia control.
If that continues into September, the war will lose so much support that a catastrophic ending will become inevitable.
Before that happens, a shift to a "Fight, fight – Talk, talk!) strategy would be advisable. Yes. I am talking again about seeking a regional solution. pl