Friday, May 25, 2007

Long, Hot, Bloody Summer

More and more of the data out of Iraq shows that Preznut Bush's troop surge policy has been a miserable failure so far.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that morgue data from Baghdad shows that sectarian killings are on the rise again after a brief lull.

Three months after the surge started, the number of bodies found in Baghdad in May equaled the number of bodies found in Baghdad in January, the month before the surge started.

Sectarian killings are the "signature practice" of the Shiite militias and while many of the militiamen were apparently "standing down" during the first part of the troop surge, they are coming back in increasing numbers.

As if on cue, radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr returned to public view in Iraq today after going into hiding for the first part of the surge. The Washington Post says Sadr is expected to try and rally people to his "nationalist cause" to lead Iraq now that his main Shiite rival, cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, went to Iran for treatment of lung cancer.

The Post also reported on Wednesday that the U.S. is devising a new strategy for Iraq that will be completed by May 31 and looks to

negotiate settlements between warring factions in Iraq from the national level down to the local level. In essence, it is as much about the political deals needed to defuse a civil war as about the military operations aimed at quelling a complex insurgency, said officials with knowledge of the plan.

According to the Post story, the military plans to keep elevated troop levels in Iraq for the forseeable future.

Today, the NY Times/CBS News poll shows the popularity of the Iraq war is at an all-time low, with 61% saying we should have stayed out of Iraq, 76% saying things are going badly for the United States in Iraq, 47% saying things are going very badly in Iraq and 76% saying the troop surge is having no positive effect on conditions on the ground.

With those kind of poll numbers, it's no wonder the preznut tried to strike a conciliatory tone in his post-Iraq war funding bill press conference yesterday, claiming that he was now open to parts of the Iraq Study Group recommendations that just a few months ago he flatly rejected. The preznut also warned that casualties in Iraq would probably get worse in the short term, saying things could get "bloody".

If anything, it sounded like Bush was paying lip service to the Iraq Study Group recommendations yesterday because his fellow Repubs are telling him just how unpopular he and his war are. But nobody really thinks he's changing strategies.

The surge, puny as it is, will continue.

So will the casualties.

5 more soldiers were killed in Iraq today
. That makes the total for the month of May 90.

Now that Bushie has secured the funding for his unending escalation of the war, it's going to be a long, hot, bloody summer indeed.

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