Charles Krauthammer seems to me to be on the right track. But even as he sketches the only potential hope for securing non-defeat in Iraq, it seems implausible. I fear Maliki's government is powerless against the Shiite militias that have increasingly infiltrated it. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best still to salvage the situation. But it behooves us to be realistic about the chances for success. For all the reasons Tom Friedman lays out today, they're slim. The news of the revised body-count for August is sobering as well: a tripling of previous estimates. Money quote from TF:

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld told us we are in the fight of our lives against a new Islamic fascism, and let’s have an unprecedented wartime tax cut and shrink our armed forces. They told us we are in the fight of our lives against a new Islamic fascism, but let’s send just enough troops to topple Saddam — and never control Iraq’s borders, its ammo dumps or its looters. They told us we are in the fight of our lives against a new Islamic fascism, but rather than bring Democrats and Republicans together in a national unity war coalition, let’s use the war as a wedge issue to embarrass Democrats, frighten voters and win elections. They told us we are in the fight of our lives against a new Islamic fascism — which is financed by our own oil purchases — but let’s not do one serious thing about ending our oil addiction.

Bush has never been serious about this war. I don't know why every Democrat hasn't been making this argument.

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