I am thinking of this in terms of a corner being approached, but not yet turned, as the new "surge" troops pour into Baghdad, sectarian violence ebbs, there is a downtick in suicide bombings, and a semblance of comity over a new national oil revenue distribution law.
Putting aside for the moment the fact that this is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time and that there still is carnage, only less so, there is another feeling as well:
That years have been wasted, not to mention all of the blood shed, to get to a point that could have be reached months after the March 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation had their planning and execution not been so utterly botched.This feeling came welling up for the umpteenth time when I read that the political goals that the Bush administration issued six months ago for the Iraqi government to meet by this month will take much longer to achieve.
These goals include:
* Reversal of the de-Baathification laws that are widely blamed for driving Sunnis from government and exacerbating the civil war.Now this is no small matter considering that U.S. commanders in Iraq now make no bones that a military solution will have little meaning without a political settlement.
* Holding local elections.
* Reforming Iraq's Constitution.
* Finalizing the aforementioned oil law.
The Bush administration's stated (if off-the-record) reason for the failure to meet the deadline is that it will take some time before the military buildup intended to stabilize Baghdad is fully in place, and it's likely the its objectives won't be realized until year's end.
But that assessment is (pardon the term) dead wrong.
The real reason goes by a name:
George Bush Dick Cheney Donald Rumsfeld.More here.
Photograph: Relatives of dead men cry outside hospital/Reuters