The weekly death tolls in Iraq have recently decreased—for four reasons: The U.S. troop “surge” has restricted the flow of explosives into Baghdad; ethnic cleansing has been completed in many areas; the Mahdi Army has suspended its attacks; and the U.S. is co-opting Sunni insurgents. Thus the Bush administration has been able to claim military progress and thereby to put off attempts to end the war.
But all of these factors are temporary or have perilous long-term consequences. Iraq is so thoroughly ripped apart by insurgent and sectarian violence that even Yugoslavia cannot be used as an analogy. There is no military solution to the insurgency or the civil war. And the hope of a unity government in Iraq is more remote than ever before.