When will the Bush administration admit the obvious about Iraq?
The arrest of Al Qaeda insurgent Abu Hamed Juma Faris al-Suaidi today is welcome, but ineffective in curbing the violence. Last month was the most lethal one yet for ordinary Iraqis, 3,438 of whom were killed, an increase of 9 percent from June. Americans still feel the shock of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks five years later, but Iraq has suffered the equivalent of three Sept. 11 attacks in the last three months.
Some people in the administration no longer strain to dispute reality. "The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels," a senior Pentagon official told The New York Times. "The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time."
A few weeks ago, two of the highest-ranking American generals conceded that things are unraveling. Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace and Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Congress that Iraq could fall into "civil war."
That led to a great deal of arid debate on whether the current level of violence deserves that term. But it's not crucial for American policy whether the situation amounts to a civil war. What's important is that it amounts to a failure.
At this point, it should be obvious to all that, despite the countless tactical successes by our troops, we are losing this war and have no strategy to win it. To keep fighting is akin to placing more bets after you realize the roulette wheel is rigged.
We are not going to stay long enough to succeed in Iraq, and we have already stayed long enough to fail.
Please, bring our troops home!