Worst Than Civil War
I admit that I've been dilatory in highlighting the conclusions of the NIE released during the Friday-night dump, but it should put to rest the debate over whether Eye-Rack is in a state of civil war:
Iraq is unraveling at an accelerating rate, and even if U.S. and Iraqi forces can slow the spreading violence, the country's fragile government is unlikely to deliver stability to its people during the next year, according to a much-anticipated assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies.
The report, titled "Prospects for Iraq's Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead," catalogs an array of forces pulling the country apart and concludes that to call the situation a civil war "does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict" because the causes of violence are so varied.
Didja all hear that? Ken Burns couldn't even begin to make a documentary covering all the angles of this shitstorm of a clusterfuck.
But what about The Surge™?
Soldiers on the ground agree: no amount of escalation is going to stop the trend:
Soldiers interviewed across east Baghdad, home to more than half the city's 8 million people, said the violence is so out of control that while a surge of 21,500 more American troops may momentarily suppress it, the notion that U.S. forces can bring lasting security to Iraq is misguided.
Lt. Hardy and his men of the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo., patrol an area southeast of Sadr City, the stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
A map in Hardy's company headquarters charts at least 50 roadside bombs since late October, and the lieutenant recently watched in horror as the blast from one killed his Humvee's driver and wounded two other soldiers in a spray of blood and shrapnel.
Soldiers such as Hardy must contend not only with an escalating civil war between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Muslims, but also with insurgents on both sides who target U.S. forces.
"We can go get into a firefight and empty out ammo, but it doesn't accomplish much," said Pvt. 1st Class Zach Clouser, 19, of York, Pa. "This isn't our war - we're just in the middle."
Almost every foot soldier interviewed during a week of patrols on the streets and alleys of east Baghdad said that Bush's plan would halt the bloodshed only temporarily. The soldiers cited a variety of reasons, including incompetence or corruption among Iraqi troops, the complexities of Iraq's sectarian violence and the lack of Iraqi public support, a cornerstone of counterinsurgency warfare.
"They can keep sending more and more troops over here, but until the people here start working with us, it's not going to change," said Sgt. Chance Oswalt, 22, of Tulsa, Okla.
Expect things to go umistakably to hell come this summer.