Flypaper

FLYPAPER….As Matt Yglesias points out, this is really bad news. The Brookings Institution has published its latest “State of Iraq” index in the New York Times, and it shows that even as we’ve been killing them by the thousands, the estimated number of active insurgents in Iraq has skyrocketed.

There’s some good news in the index too, but I think the basic dynamic in Iraq is the same as it was a year ago: it’s going to be nearly impossible to make any real progress there until the security situation is resolved. Lack of seriousness about postwar security was the fundamental problem of Don Rumsfeld’s initial invasion plan, and it’s still the fundamental problem ? and apparently no closer to a solution than it was 15 months ago.

I’m not sure what the answer is. Increasing troop levels would be difficult at this point, though perhaps not completely impossible. Training more Iraqi troops is proceeding apace, but their effectiveness seems to be pretty minimal. Allowing Allawi to declare martial law and do whatever it takes to crush the insurgents might work, but we’re supposed to be in favor of liberal democracy here.

So now what?