Mencken said that the Americano is distinguished in all fields and endeavors by his capacity to believe that which is palpably untrue, and by the headlines you can sense that statement's palpable truth. What's happening in Iraq is not "progress" by any lights, dear god. It is right now worse than it has ever been, "reductions in violence" or whatever the going phrase is notwithstanding. Timorous American liberals are reenacting their prewar failures, casting themselves as an opposition but hiding behind the hedges. For fear of being shown wrong a year in the future, they will not state plain facts. Fortunately, we're all gonna die. So here it is, unvarnished. America has overseen the effective ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, and there you have it. Reductions in violence. Elsewhere and otherwise, we have thoroughly empowered the very people who will soon ramp up their efforts to reacquire the reins of state power. The Anbar awakening my ass. You might as well call it "a third force," pace Graham Greene. Do you want to know why they have effectively cooperated in attacking and undermining the operational efficacy of all those home-grown Iraqi terrorist groups who made the last year the deadliest ever? Because now that they are organizing, they don't need a lot of fuckin' amateurs fucking things up. This is not a difficult point to grasp if you simply stop viewing Iraqis as naive little children and understand that these people who now claim to have allied themselves with America are political sophisticates. The chaos served their interests for a time. If you want to worry, worry about the brutal efficacy with which they've clamped down on something that a hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers couldn't control. These are parties with a political agenda, and America has effectively abandoned the weak government that America itself set up to underwrite the aspirations of that government's principle domestic enemy. So, you know, everyone who's spent the last five years pointing out that the real difference between Iraq and Vietnam is that in Vietnam there was an organized, ideological enemy that sought political control of the Vietnames state whereas in Iraq there's just a bunch of camel jockey's blowing shit up because they're a lot of primitive, superstitious sand niggers with no politics and too much plastique can kindly sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. Of course, we never overtly allied ourselves with the Viet Cong, but whatever. Here's the point, dudes. At some point not very far off, you are going to see a substantial uptick in directed violence against the current Iraqi government and the American occupation forces who have convinced themselves and their media interlocutors that they're only in it for the money. We know which Lebowski you are, Lebowski. You're not dealing with morons here.