Events in Iraq are giving the lie to administration claims that all it wants to do is create a stable, democratic Iraq, and then leave.
The U.S. assault on the Mustafa Mosque, and the deaths of, variously, 16 insurgents or 37 unarmed worshippers (depending upon whether you believe the Pentagon or Iraqi police), has prompted calls from the Iraqi government for the U.S. to hand over control of security in Iraq to the local government.
But they're not doing it.
Because the Bush administration has no intention of leaving Iraq, particularly in the hands of its elected Shi'ia-led leadership.
The truth is that the U.S. is running Iraq from the giant U.S. Embassy compound in the Green Zone, and the Iraqi "government" remains a puppet regime. The truth is also that the U.S. has been spending billions of dollars not on Iraq reconstruction, which in any case is not being phased out if it ever was being attempted, but on building several large, permanent military bases inside Iraq, from which the U.S. has no intention of budging in the foreseeable future. (Want to guess where some of that "missing" $9 billion in U.S. reconstruction money has really gone?).
The Mosque attack also shows the terrible morass that American troops have been dumped into. They're getting shot at from all over the place--probably from mosques as much as anywhere--but if they shoot back, they end up killing innocents. And even when they kill people who were actually shooting at them, those people have families and friends who consider their deaths to be heroic and patriotic. So a blood feud against the American occupiers is made all the more bitter.
The U.S. has no interest in a successful Iraq government, since it is now clear that such a government will be Shi'ia led, and close to Iran politically. Therefore, my guess is that the fallback strategy is to rev up the Shi'ia militants, stir up civil strife, and perhaps even to get the Sunni minority, long the heart of opposition to the U.S., to turn to the U.S. for help, as the Kurds did years back.
U.S. troops have had a bit of a respite as Iraqi fighters were focused on other Iraqis in recent months, but the mosque attack, and word of several other massacres of innocents by U.S. forces, is sure to bring a renewed focus by Iraqi fighters on American soldiers. We can expect the body count, already past the 2300 mark, to start soaring.
I hate Bush and his handlers more with each passing day. Five years ago, I didn't think I was capable of this much hate. Thanks, assholes.