In January of 2007, as five new American brigades surged into Iraq, the national gloom was pervasive. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, declared that the war was lost, and a complaisant press permitted this defeatism to pass without comment. There was good reason for this. Baghdad, the political heart of Iraq, was falling apart. Sunni extremists had succeeded in slaughtering enough Shiites to provoke a murderous backlash. Subjected to nightly raids by Shiite death squads, the Sunnis were being driven from the city. The U.S. military was reporting an average of 30 murders a day in Baghdad. Now, a year later, that number is two or three. Baghdad is not safe, but it is not disintegrating in a vortex of violence.West paints a positive picture of the military success in Iraq, and a relatively bleak portrait of the political landscape. He sees the Maliki government as an impediment to reconciliation, referring to Maliki's sectarian bias on several occasions.