The harder President Bush has pushed to win in Iraq, the closer he has come to losing. The question no longer is whether the U.S. military can fully stabilize Iraq. It cannot. That was a possibility four years ago, immediately after Saddam Hussein's government fell. Before the insurgency took hold. Before U.S. occupation authorities lost any chance to avoid the sectarian strife of today's Iraq. Now only the Iraqis can save Iraq.
They need the U.S. military's help, no doubt. But the Bush administration has made no secret of the fact that the U.S. troop buildup in Baghdad is simply buying time for the Iraqis to sort out their differences, create a government of national unity and show they can defend themselves.
So it is not whether the U.S. can win the war. It is whether the Iraqis can, which is in great doubt. (Read the rest of this opinion here.)
- Robert Burns, AP Military Writer