New York Times:
It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.
When our top commander in Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid, tells a Senate Committee, as he did yesterday, that “the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it,” it means that three years of efforts to democratize Iraq are not working. That means “staying the course” is pointless, and it’s time to start thinking about Plan B—how we might disengage with the least damage possible.
It seemed to me over the last three years that, even with all the Bush team’s missteps, we had to give our Iraqi partners a chance to produce a transitional government, then write a constitution, then hold an election and then, finally, put together their first elected cabinet. But now they have done all of that—and the situation has only worsened.
The Sunni jihadists and Baathists are as dedicated as ever to making this U.S.-Iraqi democracy initiative fail. That, and the runaway sectarian violence resulting from having too few U.S. troops and allowing a militia culture to become embedded, have made Iraq a lawless mess.
Link (pay wall)