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''Last, Best Chance to Get This Right''

10:55 AM, Jun 12, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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This is how a senior White House official characterized the stakes involved in the Iraq discussions the president is having at Camp David today and tomorrow. Last week, Ambassador Khalilzad acknowledged that the security situation in Baghdad has deteriorated the last few months. And retired General Barry McCaffrey calls the city the "central battlefield of the insurgency." With Zarqawi dead, the conventional wisdom of the media is that the Camp David meeting will end with word that US troop levels will be drawdown, as General Casey suggested yesterday. But don't be surprised if just the opposite happens - at least in the short term and perhaps only in the western approaches to Baghdad. The president may be drawing on the lessons advanced in Eliot Cohen's "Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime," a book on his summer reading list a few years back.