Some hardline posturing has been going on recently, which is making me think that the "surge" is also a message aimed at Iran. An assumption of hostilities with Iran changes all my reckoning with what is good strategy. Iraq in this case is just a huge training ground for possible Iran related operations. Therefore, the longer time and lots of troops just means they are better trained and battle-hardened for the next phase. Reminds me of a recent game of Caesar IV.