For the last 18 months, we’ve been in a low-grade civil war. The Askariya bombing kicked us up to “medium-grade,” I guess you might call it. Both Sunnis and Shi’a I’ve spoken with are waiting and preparing for it, and that very preparation might make for a self-fulfilling prophecy. For to many Iraqis, it’s only a matter of time.
The Controlled Chaos Exit window is closing quicklyThe interesting thing is that the US military, caught in the bind of US domestic politics (can't retreat, etc.), isn't able to make the appropriate strategic decisions necessary to optimize our situation there. We should be in the process of withdrawing from Iraq all but a small contingent troops. This would allow us to participate in the process yet it would mitigate our exposure. The absolutely worst case situation (which is increasingly possible) is that the supplies to our troops are cut off and we are forced to fight our way out through a combo of guerrillas and militias. Smart decisions, made now, will prevent this situation from careening in that direction.