There is no more knowledgeable observer of the situation in Iraq than Professor Juan Cole and he is becoming increasingly pessimistic:
An observer in Iraq writes to me: "The situation has deteriorated in Baghdad dramatically today. Five neighborhoods (hay) in Baghdad are controlled by insurgents, and they are Amiraya, Ghazilya, Shurta, Yarmouk and Doura. It is very bad. My guys there report that cars have come into these neighborhoods and blocked off the streets. Masked gunmen with AKs and other weapons are roaming these areas, announcing that people should stay home. One of my drivers in Amiraya reports that his neighborhood is shut down totally, and even those who need food or provisions are warned not to go out.www.juancole.com/2005/06/abizaid-cost-in-blood-and-treasure-2nd.html
An academic sent me this:
In 1967 noted historian and political activist Howard Zinn published a book called Vietnam--The Logic of Withdrawal. Recently he has come out in favor of withdrawing from Iraq in an interview with Raw Story.
"Yesterday I talked with a 2nd Lt and West Point grad who has just come back from Iraq. He says flat out that the war is lost, that "we" only control territory when the troops are there in massive numbers and that "they" take over as soon as the troops leave, that the army is over-extended and morale is terrible -- drug use is escalating -- that there still isn't enough armor, that the Iraqi army and police are worse than useless, and that senior officers are convinced that it is Vietnam redux.
In the meantime, the embassy people act as if nothing in Baghdad is wrong (except that they cannot walk in the Green Zone without body armor and they have to take precautions against kidnapping). Recently, a group from State and the military parachuted in from Washington [with fatuous advice] . . . It is a fantasy world."
We have faced the same situation in Iraq that we faced in Vietnam two years into the war, that some people began calling for withdrawal from Vietnam. And in fact I wrote the book, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal which came out in the spring of '67, which was exactly two years after the war had begun. When I wrote that book, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal, because it seemed evident by that time; it seemed clear by that time that this war was wrong, that it was immoral, and that the only proper thing to do was to get out of Vietnam as fast as possible.
The same arguments that were made then are made now. And what happened of course was that we did not get out of there. We did not withdraw for another six years, and in the course of that time huge numbers of people died. Today there is a timidity in our political leadership about calling for withdrawal. The farthest they can come in direction of boldness is the suggestion that maybe in the end of 2006 troops might be withdrawn.
But there is no major political leader who's calling for immediate withdrawal, and that's shameful. Because people are going to die as a result as the continuation of the war. And the same arguments that were made then at the time of Vietnam against withdrawal are being made now. "Well, we're in it too deep and we can't get out, our prestige will be hurt if we leave," it's sort of ridiculous.
The time to have declared victory and pulled our troops out was after the elections in Iraq. Now I fear that the best we can do is to admit defeat and leave. This will not happen soon, of course, but it will happen.