We have overly politicized, overly polarized debate, which doesn’t do justice to the facts on the ground or give the troops a policy that actually represents those realities and their best interests.

I believe that if everybody comes to the Senate floor and says there’s no military solution, then the significant question is: where’s the political solution? If the Iraqi politicians know that our troops are going to be there as a backstop until next summer, and at the same level as last summer, there’s no leverage for them whatsoever to make any compromises.

So our troops are trapped in a dangerous cycle, the outcome of which they can’t change -- and, as a country, we’ve taken away the real leverage on the Iraqis themselves to make the compromises necessary to resolve a civil war.

Al-Qaeda, dangerous as it is in the world and real as it is in limited ways in Iraq, is not the principal problem for our troops. The principal problem for our troops is the violence between Shia and Sunni, and the unwillingness of Iraqi politicians to compromise and take away the rationale for that violence.

So I think that the administration has succeeded in backing some of these guys off from the change that they promised would occur, and that most people believe that change is critical to a positive outcome.