In the near future the best that can be hoped for is what he calls “sustainable stability” – a low level of violence that would allow US troops to withdraw and Iraqis to live relatively normal lives while hoping that their government and armed forces eventually get control.
Classified Iraq plan:
The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador, 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.
"Sustainable security is, in fact, what we hope to achieve. We do think it will take about that amount of time ... to establish the conditions for it," General David Petraeus told ABC News when asked about media reports that Washington envisaged a big troop presence in Iraq until then.
Administration sock puppets Pollack and O'Hanlon:
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.
Makes me pine for the days of "clear, hold, and build."
And the fjords.