The occupation is worse than an economic tsunami: it managed to plunge Iraq - once a beacon of development in the Arab world - into Sub-Saharan poverty. There’s less electricity each day than in 2003 or even 2004. Without electricity, the whole country is paralyzed: nothing - communications, industry, the healthcare system, the educational system - works properly. All water plants “reconstructed” by Bechtel and co are breaking down. With weekly, sometimes daily attacks on pipelines, oil production is pitiful, still inferior to Saddam-era, pre-war levels. Sixty percent of the total population survives on food stamps.

Baghdad is a hellish labyrinth of concrete walls and barbed wire, where a BMW is “the kidnappers’ car”, 4X4s are favored by candidates for suicide attacks and there’s no safe place to hide. Reuters staff survive barricaded behind sandbags and concrete walls; the only one able to venture out to collect images by motorbike is Abu Ali, a kind of local hero. Gas lines are endless. The resistance is relentless. The al-Batawiyyin district has become a Dantesque hell of criminal gangs, drug trafficking, prostitution and trafficking of human organs. Western Iraq is totally out of US control. Mosul is infiltrated by the Iraqi resistance. Ramadi, the resistance capital of the Sunni triangle, is controlled by - who else - the resistance. ~Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

As a new poll claims that 53% of Americans believe the war not to be worth the cost, and we can see that Iraqis are objectively worse off in most practical ways, can we admit that this war has been an unmitigated failure, moral abomination and waste of lives? More to the point, if a majority of Americans do not support this war and the administration cannot even fall back on the myth of “progress” in Iraq, why are we not withdrawing at once? How can anyone justify compelling our soldiers to pay a price a majority now sees as unacceptable, especially when the latest reason for their being there is revealed to be yet another sham? Our continued presence cannot improve things over time, as our presence has demonstrably worsened conditions. The right thing to do, I daresay even the humanitarian thing, and the best course of action in the interests of the United States is to leave Iraq. Congress must demand withdrawal now, and those members that continue to support this appalling waste should be targeted for defeat in 2006.