I would take some comfort from the crowing about the surge working on the right, if I didn't think that the chickenhawk military 'experts' only are concerned with the fact that they weren't wrong. They don't really give a damn whether the Iraqi's begin to govern themselves or it's safer there. They don't give damn if "we're winning". They just are concerned about losing and being proved wrong. Let's be honest this surge did nothing but stop the bleeding, if we had pulled out we would have saved hundreds of American lives and thousands of Iraqi.
It's not really clear if there would have been more Iraqi's dead if we have pulled out. Given the fact that violence is down in the south where we have pulled out, although still seeing 45 murders a day in Basra, the lesson is clear. Troops can't make a difference in that situation anymore. What is needed is more Iraqi police, especially ones that aren't in the pocket of the local militias.
For the military, it is clear to me that they are invested in this because it's military nature not to admit defeat. Never to give up the fight. That's why they fought to have the surge implemented in the first place, they knew time was running out on their strategy. They will never admit their defeat in this insurgency, regardless of the hand they were dealt by the Bush administration. They never really internalized the Vietnam loss, how could they realize this one, which is in its slow motion death throes even now.
The surge is working, in that it kept the people from forcing congress to withdraw. This was its only purpose. Petraeus' purpose was to stall the withdrawal, and that mission was accomplished.
Nothing has changed the dynamic in Iraq and civilian deaths are up 33%.
We would have less loss of life if we had withdrawn, and the situation in Iraq would not have changed. Except perhaps, as Basra teaches us, for the better.