U.S. headed for disaster when efforts in Iraq collapse

Red flags flapping sharply in the wind signal our country is on the verge of a major political - and economic - setback.

We may now be only weeks away from a complete collapse of the Iraqi army and the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq in the face of overwhelming public pressure on Tony Blair.

That is a realistic projection based on the reports of two Washington Post reporters, whose dispatches from inside Iraqi Army units and U.S. units assigned to train and work with the Iraqi military have just been published.

What the Post reporters found was massive disenchantment on both sides: American forces bitterly disappointed with the Iraqi government forces, and Iraqi troops harboring similar feelings toward their American counterparts. Only a small percentage of all Iraqi troops are now estimated to be adequately trained to take over the defense of their country. Desertions are widespread.

More than 1,700 American men and women sent to Iraq have returned home in body bags thus far, and more than 7,000 have been critically wounded. War dead in total exceeds 25,000, including "collateral casualties." And the price tag for our military operations tops $200 billion - and counting.
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