Like Kevin Drum, I read that our future War Czar© thinks that the surge hasn't really worked, and won't work absent political reform. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it's a bit out of character for Bush administration officials to be openly voicing pessimism like this. You'd expect this kind of talk from the Communists at the CIA, but not from someone at Lute's level. Second (and this is where the cynical conspiracy stuff starts), I get the sense that Lute's testimony is a prelude to something else -- a move of the pawn if you will.
On the one hand, maybe (as Kevin notes) the administration is laying the foundation for a move against Maliki (or for some other Plan B, Plan B-H, etc.). Maybe. But . . . maybe it's just playing the expectations game in preparation for the Great September Showdown. If September truly is the moment of truth for Congressional Republicans, then the administration has some incentive to make things look as grim as possible right now to give the appearance of progress a few months down the road.
We've also seen this MO before. Think about the budget deficit projections. The administration has in the past used inflated deficit projections to give the appearance of a reduced deficit when the actual numbers come out (which are inevitably lower than the projections). Maybe something similar is in the works for the September Showdown. Too cynical?