Five troops died today. Violence overall is up. Progress is, according to the US Ambassador to Iraq, "Frustratingly slow."
Sounds like progress is non-existent.
It seems like a long time since any of us have heard good news coming out of Iraq. Come to think of it, perhaps we've never heard any good news out of that war and we probably never will. The administration's ever-changing team has had four years to put a win on the scoreboard there and has still come up a big fat zero.
Perhaps that is because, as we American's are slowly figuring out, wars are no longer huge Olympic events with guns. Battles in Iraq are not something to be won, they are merely to be survived. These days, wars of occupation are not winnable unless you can fundamentally change the political dynamic of the country that you're occupying. Based on that, a country where the majority of the population has known only one political system and one leader is a poor target regardless of your resources and resolve. Putting 20,000 more boots on the ground (so is that 10,000 troops, that does make a case for more one-legged soldiers) isn't going to make a people change. Furthermore, occupying said target without engaging all the political players is the strategic equivalent of pounding your head against a brick wall and half-expecting it to crumble some day.
Not only are we not winning in Iraq, we're not even really playing the right game.
Winning the war in Iraq has more to do with unemployment than it has to do with insurgents. It has more to do with making chit-chat with Syria and Iran than it has to do with "fighting terror." It has more to do with engaging than it has to do with killing. It has everything to do with hearts and minds and nothing to do with blood and guts.
Then again, even if we were playing the right game, I doubt Iraq would be the right place to play.
But this has been very educational. Yes, indeedy, it's been very very enlightening. And expensive. Thanks Georgie. Thanks a billion. Actually, no, thanks 200 billion.