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Quagmire Accomplished | The Nation

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Quagmire Accomplished

Over 2,700 Americans killed – 24 soldiers were killed over a 5-day period last week and the Pentagon said improvised explosive device attacks are now "at an all-time high." Over 20,000 Americans wounded – more last month than in any month over the past two years. As many as 100,000 Iraqis killed and countless more wounded. Over $400 billion squandered and projected total costs reaching into the trillions…

This Administration is culpable for this war. Pin the responsibility on those who misled the country into a war that has made us less safe.

This Adminsitration is responsible for new polls that show over 70 percent of Iraqis favor US withdrawal within a year. Over 75 percent of Baghdad residents would feel safer if the US left Iraq. And, disturbingly, over 60 percent of Iraqis support attacks on Americans.

A front page story in Sunday's New York Times makes clear yet another reason why Iraqis want us out: the impact this war is having on the next generation of Iraqis who are without hope, jobs, or opportunities and are now being radicalized.

According to The Times, "As little as a year ago, most Iraqis dismissed fears of sectarian war. Iraqis of different sects had always mixed… and no amount of bombing would change that. But as the texture of the violence changed from spectacular car bombs set by Sunnis to quiet killings in neighborhoods of both sects, few still cling to that belief."

Many have scrapped plans for college and a professional life and are now fighting simply to survive. A country which once prided itself on women's educational achievements is suffering through de-modernization. One example, a 10th grade girl "with perfect English and straight A's" will not attend college because of the new reality of sectarian violence.

"Campuses are volatile mixes of sects and ethnicities, and sectarian killings of students are no longer rare," reports The Times.

The widespread belief that the US presence is fueling the insurgency, sectarian strife, and deepening despair has led Iraqis to an inevitable conclusion, described by Nicholas Kristof in an op-ed on Sunday, "Iraqis are crystal clear on what the U.S. should do: announce a timetable for withdrawal of our troops within one year."

And while we should not abandon the beleaguered people of Iraq following our invasion and occupation, it is clear that our assistance should now come through international peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. In the US, we are steadily catching up with the sane realization that Iraqis have already made: it's time to bring an end to this war.

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