If successful, wouldn’t a troop surge cast doubt on the wisdom of the “light footprint” policies backed by Abizaid and Pace all along? With so much having been staked on that light footprint policy, and with things going to badly, doesn’t this give Abizaid and Pace a motive to oppose a move that could make their past positions look bad? I don’t claim to be a mind reader. Still, at a minimum, the inherent conflict of interest here means that Abizaid and Pace cannot be treated as unquestioned and impartial authorities. They have an interest in preventing their past policies from being cast in a bad light. But so far the president seems to have treated his commanders in the field as strictly impartial experts. Abe Lincoln never made that mistake. He traded commanders and judged them by results, even when the folks he replaced turned into political enemies.