Michael Gerson, Speechwriter Turned Strategist
A Season of Hope in Iraq
By Michael Gerson Friday, August 31, 2007; A15
The season now ending with school bells and the return of Congress was supposed to be the "Iraq Summer." A coalition of antiwar groups promised 10 weeks of phone banks, billboards, petitions and protests targeted at 40 Republican members of Congress who support the war. "It's going to be like laying asphalt in August -- hot," boasted one organizer.
By this standard, August has been remarkably mild. It brings to mind a couplet by the poet Richard Wilbur: "What is the opposite of riot? It's lots of people keeping quiet."
During their summer vacation, Americans discovered that Gen. David Petraeus doesn't take one. And his energy and urgency have shifted the Iraq debate in some fundamental ways.
A few months ago, it was the received wisdom that Iraq was in the midst of a rapidly escalating civil war. That claim is no longer plausible.
While the level of violence is still unacceptably high, the surge has disrupted the …