From the statement of General Petraeus:
Based on all this and on the further progress we believe we can achieve over the next few months, I believe that we will be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level of brigade combat teams by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains that we have fought so hard to achieve.
Before the Congressional August recess there were a few "wobbly" Republicans who were considering joining with Democrats to insist on some sort of time line or withdrawal and the Democrats were counting on the August recess to push those Republicans farther from President Bush, but events on the ground did something that the Democrats had not planned for.
They improved. Progress was seen and even some die hard Democratic critics of the war came back from Iraq and positioned themselves against the Democratic party in that desire.
Two examples, Brain Baird and another Keith Ellison.
More than that happened, though.
General Petraeus laid out the conditions on the ground in Iraq, showing himself to be what John Warner, another former "wobbly" Republican, called "powerful, compelling and credible".
Representative Jim Marshall of Georgia, one of 10 House Democrats to vote in July against setting a timeline for withdrawal, called Petraeus's testimony ``powerful and persuasive.'' And Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, also said after the testimony that he remained opposed to a congressionally mandated pullout.
General Petraeus discussed the challenges and the difficulties as well as the progress and successes that have come about in the last two months, in Iraq.
We also now see reported in The Telegraph that Susan Collins, Richard Lugar and Pete Domenici, all "wobbly" Republicans that the Democrats were counting on turning have been "swayed" by the Petraeus-Crocker testimony".
"I'm supportive of a reasonable plan, which they offered," said Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican foreign policy veteran previously highly sceptical about the surge, referring to Gen Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, US ambassador to Baghdad.
But Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, both Republicans facing tough re-election battles in Democratic-leaning states, followed Mr Lugar in indicating they had been swayed by the Petraeus-Crocker testimony.
In an incredibly stupid move, the organization, MoveOn.org, took out a full page ad against General Petraeus, accusing him of "cooking the books" and calling him "General Betray Us", that largely backfired, which very way may be one of the reasons that the two latest polls have shown a small rise in support for President Bush and a larger rise in support for the recommendations that General Petraeus has made.
The arm chair generals in the Congress and the Senate will make a large show of trying to force a different plan than what the expert, General Petraeus, has recommended, but they did not have the votes before the August recess, the good news that came out of Iraq while they were on that recess has proven to be very bad news for them and they will not have the votes to counter the recommendations of General Petraeus now.
They might even make a show of passing a bill that calls for the exact plan that President Bush will be announcing tonight, then trying to take credit for the Petraeus plan, but everyone would see though that in a second flat.
I will bring you the text of President Bush's speech later tonight.