December 20, 2006
|"Unbelievably Rapid" Escalation Of Violence||Iraq|
It just keeps getting worse. WaPo:
The Pentagon said yesterday that violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record and acknowledged that anti-U.S. fighters have achieved a "strategic success" by unleashing a spiral of sectarian killings by Sunni and Shiite death squads that threatens Iraq's political institutions.
In its most pessimistic report yet on progress in Iraq, the Pentagon described a nation listing toward civil war, with violence at record highs of 959 attacks per week, declining public confidence in government and "little progress" toward political reconciliation.
"The violence has escalated at an unbelievably rapid pace," said Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, director of strategic plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who briefed journalists on the report. "We have to get ahead of that violent cycle, break that continuous chain of sectarian violence...That is the premier challenge facing us now."
The rapid spread of violence this year has thrown the government's future into jeopardy, Pentagon officials said.
"The tragedy of Iraq is that in February in Samarra, the insurgents achieved what one could call a partial strategic success -- namely, to trigger what we've been dealing with ever since, which is a cycle of sectarian violence, that indeed is shaking the institutions," Peter W. Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said at the briefing.
He was referring to the Feb. 22 bombing of the Askariya mosque, a holy Shiite shrine, in the ethnically mixed city of Samarra north of Baghdad. [Emphasis added]
People still talk like there's a military solution out there somewhere, but they're kidding themselves. More troops won't help.