When Gen. David Petraeus said earlier today that it would be premature to talk about going below the pre-surge trop levels in Iraq, he said that his experience in Iraq has "repeatedly shown that projecting too far into the future is not just difficult, it can be misleading and even hazardous."
He meant that in a good way -- things in Iraq sometimes turn out better than anyone could have expected. "When I testified in January," he said by way of example, "no one would have dared to forecast that Anbar province would have been transformed the way it has in the past six months."
In fact, as Think Progress reports, someone could have anticipated progress in Anbar back then, and that someone was Gen. Petraeus. In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January 2007, Petraeus talked up progress in the Anbar province, saying there "appears to be a trend in the positive direction where sheikhs are stepping up, and they do want to be affiliated with and supported by the U.S. Marines and Army forces who are in Anbar province."