THE NEW WEST BANK….A private email from Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi about conditions in Baghdad has been getting a lot of attention today, and it’s not hard to see why. Here’s some of what she has to say:

Iraqis like to call this mess ‘the situation.’ When asked ‘how are thing?’ they reply: ‘the situation is very bad.”

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn’t control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country’s roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health — which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers — has now stopped disclosing them.

….America’s last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date — and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.

It’s well worth clicking the link to read the whole thing.

It is more and more obvious that George Bush has only one overriding concern right now: to keep a lid on this until November 3. Somehow ? somehow ? keep the American public from learning that Iraq has turned into America’s very own version of the West Bank until he’s safely reelected.

After that, he’ll have a choice to make: pull out or put in more troops. Which is it going to be?

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