MAKING THINGS WORSE….Is a continued U.S. presence in Iraq necessary to prevent full blown civil war? Over at MaxSpeak, Barkley summarizes the latest bunch of botched military operations and concludes exactly the opposite:

I have had some sympathy with the idea that maybe, just maybe, US forces were necessary to prevent a complete degeneration into a full-scale bloodbath. But if this is the sort of stuff our troops are going to do, for whatever reason, then they should get the hell out as soon as possible. They probably should anyway, but this insanity is simply the final straw. Even the supposedly pro-US parts of the media in Iraq are enraged. Get out now!

Can I ask something very politically incorrect? There’s no question that the fiasco in Iraq is primarily the fault of our civilian leadership ? primarily George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld ? but what about our military leadership? Conventional wisdom suggests that we should all refrain from criticizing “the troops,” but surely this stricture doesn’t apply to the senior officer corps, which even now, 30 years after Vietnam and three years after the beginning of the Iraq war, appears not to understand how to fight a counterinsurgency. Or, for that matter, to even universally accept the fact that we are fighting a counterinsurgency.

Why? Either we’re fighting this war very badly, in which case our military leadership deserves criticism, or else the kind of large-scale counterinsurgency we’re fighting in Iraq is simply impossible for a country like the United States to win. Which is it?