The Iraq war is lost. Of course, neither the president nor the war's intellectual architects are prepared to admit this. Nonetheless, the specter of defeat shapes their thinking in telling ways.
The case for the war is no longer defined by the benefits of winning -- a stable Iraq, democracy on the march in the Middle East, the collapse of the evil Iranian and Syrian regimes -- but by the consequences of defeat. As President Bush put it, "The consequences of failure in Iraq would be death and destruction in the Middle East and here in America."
Tellingly, the Iraq war's intellectual boosters, while insisting the surge is working, are moving to assign the blame for defeat. And they have already picked their target: the American people.
A sobering but enlightening read, to say the least. Even with willing leaders, you can't create a stable country when the citizens can't agree on what that country should be, how it should be run, and who should be running it. And then there's that pesky issue of them killing each other.
Honestly, does anyone here really think that by going along the current course, the Bush administration can somehow broker a truce between the centuries-old rift between Sunnis and Shiites, given the utter failure to make any headway in that direction so far?