What a horrible, bloody mess Iraq has become, and the Iraq Study Group is confirming that fact.
The group has just presented its report to our not-so-beloved president, and first looks at it are available at The Washington Post and New York Times. The Times has a chart comparing options. Both have links to the report itself, which talks about a looming humanitarian catastrophe if the United States doesn't change course.
(Note that The Post has just taken the word "catastrophe" out of its story and headline. That may show that Post editors think that was inaccurate or that they're backing off from strong criticism of President Bush. I haven't had a chance to read the report yet, but I'm going to leave the word in my coverage for the moment because it does seem to convey the situation. However, read that word with caution until either you or I have time to review the report.)
Earlier today The Post reported on some of the background to the report. The emphasis is mine.
Although the study group will present its plan as a much-needed course change in Iraq, many of its own advisers concluded during its deliberations that the war is essentially already lost, according to private correspondence obtained yesterday and interviews with participants. The best the commission could put forward would be the "least bad" of many bad options, as former ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer wrote.
An early working draft from July stated that "there is even doubt that any level of resources could achieve the administration's stated goals, given the illiberal and undemocratic political forces, many of them Islamic fundamentalists, that will dominate large parts of the country for a long time."