Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rise in Sectarian Violence in Baghdad

Last week a handful of Republican Senators stood up and suggested they could no longer support Bush's Iraq war policy. They couldn't wait until September as he asked them to in order to determine the success of the "surge."

According to the Washington Post, the number of murdered bodies in the streets of Baghdad has risen 41% over what it was in January when Bush's "surge" was ordered.

Recall that the "surge" was ordered to stabilize Baghdad and quell the growing sectarian strife, which the Bush administration has steadfastly refused to call civil war.

The murders are the clearest indicator of the level of sectarian based violence and have nothing to do with Al Qaeda, the supposed "enemy #1" in Iraq.

With daily car bombings, mass civilian casualties inflicted in the civil war, whole sections of the country and the city of Baghdad itself under the control of groups unaffiliated with the government, security and stability are no closer today than they were four years ago.

The conflict is exacerbated, not eased, by the presence of the US military as an occupation force. Broad hostility toward the US has grown in Iraq as well as toward the relationship between the Iraqi and US governments. Despite the fact that the Iraqi government was elected by a large portion of the population, it is increasingly appearing to be little more than a voice for Bush.

This policy is a failure and because Bush views the current situation as "normal" and has failed to consider alternatives, Congress will have to stop him before more US troops are killed. Security and stability will only be achieved by adopting a new course: troop withdrawal, full sovereignty for Iraq, inter-sectarian talks, good-faith regional diplomacy, boosted reconstruction efforts, and insertion of international peace keepers.

Republicans who have expressed displeasure with Bush's stay-the-course mentality have to do more than talk. They are going to have to vote to bring the troops home and for a new direction.

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