I never get tired of the "blame the victim" caveats at work here, as if we bore absolutely no responsibility for unleashing forces that the Bushies either did not comprehend or didn't concern themselves with, even though they had been warned beforehand many times by many knowledgeable people. They thought they knew better, they heard what they wanted to hear and funneled the intel they wanted to use, and they let their legacy pundit proxies defame and accuse all who disagreed as pussies, appeasers, traitors.
And these are cultural and sectarian issues, and ancient grudges predating us which are in play here, obviously. But that doesn't absolve us from our responsibility, even if one still somehow believes that this was all just an honest, if tragic, mistake.
I think this shaping up to be a very intriguing State of the Union speech, which in the parlance of official beltway dickheads is supposed to set the tone for the legislative session. That is no longer in play; if Bush cannot even convince a majority of the troops of his judgment and acumen, then all he can do is beg a few senators and think-tank douchebags to provide a fig-leaf for his obstinacy. Good luck with that.
The situation is now simply far too all-encompassing -- and even paradoxical -- to address with even a tightly-focused troop surge. The Iraqis want us to get the fuck out, but if we do, the Sadr militias that have taken up sizable chunks of the Iraqi armed forces will engage in wholesale slaughter. The violence, as bad as it is, is practically guaranteed to spike sharply, and probably abate only as they run out of people to murder. The problem is political as much as it is infrastructural, as much as it is a tactical military situation. All you can do with more troops, without addressing political jockeying by a largely impotent Green Zone government, without even basic services and jobs, is clamp down and engender more seething hatred, encourage yet more desperation and futility.
Bush clearly doesn't get this. He's seen too many John Wayne movies or something, or thinks that a Hail Mary, followed by recovering an onside kick, followed by 50 yards of hook-and-ladder laterals will recoup that two-touchdown deficit in the final 30 seconds of the game, and we can all be heroes. This is not Rudy; anyone who actually watches football knows that that shit almost never works, which is why it's such a story when it does.
It's nice to pray and constantly iterate one's moral superiority and good intentions, but that doesn't pull a failed state of 25 million people out of the gulch. It's not a plan, it's not a fix, and shame on Bush and McCain for even pretending that it is.