PROGRESS IN IRAQ….Via ThinkProgress, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle Eastern Affairs Mark Kimmitt spoke at the Heritage Foundation today about the prospects for political reconciliation and stability in Iraq:

If I had to put a number to it, maybe it’s three in 10, maybe it’s 50-50, if we play our cards right….To recognize that this will be the next phase, that this will be done in 2008 rather than 2007, is a bit of a disappointment as the new way forward envisioned that progress in politics and reconciliation would occur in parallel with progress in security. To see such significant progress in security with only the foundations of progress in reconciliation is a bit disheartening, not to mention sobering.

A couple of notes. First, Kimmitt was reading a prepared statement, so this was presumably a considered and vetted position. Second, he was absolutely clear that the surge will be a success only if “the gains in security can be translated into gains in stability.” War supporters frequently act as though an emphasis on political reconciliation is mere caviling from liberals who don’t want to admit that the surge has been a success, so it’s good to see that this emphasis is not only common sense, but also (as it always been) official Bush administration policy.