A resident gestures as he talks to a U.S. soldier from 2nd Brigade combat team in Baghdad, January 5, 2008. Picture taken January 5, 2008.
Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud / Courtesy Reuters



Colin H. Kahl

In "The Price of the Surge" (May/June 2008), Steven Simon correctly observes that the Sunni turn against al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), known as the Sunni Awakening, has been a key factor in security progress during the period of "the surge." Simon is also on point when he notes that the Awakening, which began before the surge, was not a direct consequence of additional U.S. troops. But although Simon gets much of the past right, he ultimately draws the wrong lessons for U.S. policy moving forward.

Rather than unilaterally and unconditionally withdrawing

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