<blockquote>Of all the absurdities attending our unending war in Iraq, the greatest is this: We are fighting to defend that which is not there. We are fighting for a national government that is not national but sectarian, and has shown no capacity to govern. We are training Iraq's security forces to combat sectarian violence though those forces are thoroughly sectarian and have themselves engaged in large-scale sectarian violence. We are fighting for a nonsectarian, pluralistic Iraq, though whatever nonsectarian and pluralistic institutions existed before our invasion have long since been blasted out of existence. In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the one nonsectarian party, which ran both Shiite and Sunni candidates, won just 8 percent of the vote. Every day, George W. Bush asks young Americans to die in defense of an Iraq that has ceased to exist (if it ever did) in the hearts and minds of Iraqis. What Iraqis believe in are sectarian or tribal Iraqs -- a Shiite Iraq, a Sunni Iraq, an autonomous Kurdish Iraqi state, an Iraq where Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani or Muqtada al-Sadr or some other chieftain holds sway. - <a href=http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/199777.html>The Sacramento Bee</a> </blockquote> The Shi'ite led Iraqi 'government' is on vacation for two months while our troops fight and die in Baghdad's streets. Iraqi security forces either don't show up, or show little interest in doing more than settling grudges with Sunni rivals in the areas our troops have cleared. Combined US/Iraqi forces hold 1/3, or fewer, Baghdad neighborhoods. The death toll amongst our troops is already on a pace to outstrip last month's casualties. Yet Bush and his administration fiddle while Baghdad burns. With more and more retired generals who served on the ground in Iraq, Gen Sanchez being the latest, speaking out against the administration's policy in Iraq. Bush and Co talk of a 50 year presence in Iraq as if that would be the magic sword to cut the Gordian knot that Iraq has become under the leadership (I'm using that term lightly here) of their administration. Iraqi citizen's don't see a unified Iraq, rather they see it as territories divided between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ias and are taking steps on their own to establish those divisions, particularly amongst the Sunnis and Shi'ias, the Kurds are doing fine on their own. The Bush administration couldn't have foreseen these consequences as they lacked the breadth of vision to actually see the sweep of history in that region, and elsewhere. In their arrogance, they simply assumed that they could go in, take out Hussein and a grateful populace would quickly fall in line behind whatever government was installed. Never mind that it was Saddam Hussein's ruthlessness and brutality that kept these sectarian rivalries at bay. We have a recent lesson in what happens when a strong-man dictator is removed from the scene abruptly. Remember Yugoslavia? Tito's death gave us the horrors of ethnic cleansing as Serbs and Croats slaughtered each other in an internecine struggle that had been contained by the force of Tito's rule. But history has been but a a minor footnote to Bush and his cronies, they didn't forget history...they simply ignored it. And now, they've repeated it.