I've been trying hard to be encouraged recently by news of a decline in suicide bombings, the new safety of the airport road, and splits between Sunni Arabs and al Qaeda. That makes the following pieces of news so unnerving. The last time I had a serious sit down with a "senior administration official" to discuss Iraq, SAO told me that I should focus less on deaths of civilians, which are very hard to prevent, and worry more about attacks on infrastructure, which were now going to be stopped in earnest. But the latest data show that we're still at pre-war levels on any number of fronts, and that the insurgency is essentialy succeeding in stopping the Iraq economy from recovering. We also discover that insurgent attacks, broadly analyzed, are still near their post-invasion peaks; and our approach to intelligence at Gitmo has succeeded in putting dozens on hunger-strike, which now requires us to engage in unsavory methods of force-feeding. To recap: reconstruction money down the toilet, insurgency still strong, detainee policy both brutal, damaging and ineffective.
If your instinct is to defend the administration, ask yourself this: did you really believe when we invaded that three years later, we still wouldn't be delivering as much electricity as Saddam did? Maybe Powerline can spin this, but I don't see how. Hewitt, maybe? Instapundit? Surely someone's up to the job.