A good rundown on where things in Iraq are now and where they are headed:
For all the recent attention on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, far more people died in Iraq over the past month than in Israel and Lebanon, and tens of thousands have been killed from the fighting and criminal activity since the U.S. occupation began. Additional signs of civil war abound. Refugees and displaced people number in the hundreds of thousands. Militias continue to proliferate. The sense of being an “Iraqi” is evaporating.
Considering how many mistakes the United States has made in Iraq, how much time has been squandered, and how difficult the task is, even a serious course correction in Washington and Baghdad may only postpone the inevitable.
Events on the ground are outpacing the debate here at home. From a political standpoint, the decision to invade Iraq and the incompetence demonstrated in the execution of that decision are fair game in congressional elections. From a policy standpoint though, the debate is–or should be–how do we prepare for, respond to, and ameliorate the looming consequences of the invasion on the region as a whole.
In that regard, debating whether to keep the troops in Iraq or bring them home is, at a certain level, starting to seem quaint. It is another sign, one of many, of the dysfunction in the U.S. policy-making apparatus that no provision is being made for the “spillover” effect. Of course, that would require first acknowledging that the strategic objectives of the Iraq invasion have not been, and cannot now be, achieved.