Iraq looks worse everyday. Bombings, kidnappings, and torture continue as a part of everyday life. US soldiers continue to die at a steady rate: 2003: 486, 2004: 848, 2005: 846. Iraqi casualties? 40,000? 80,000? 100,000 or more?

Juan Cole has posted an update on the ever continuing decline of conditions in Iraq:

Under Iraqi law, the new parliament must meet to choose a president within 15 days of the certification of the election results, e.g. around Feb. 18. The parliamentarians are, however, putting aside this provision of the law and are making no promises as to when they will be able to form a government.

Iraqi guerrilla groups attacked US and other targets 34,000 times in 2005, up 30% from the year before. The number of roadside bombs deployed nearly doubled to over 10,000, and the number of casualties was up. Any way you measure it, these statistics indicate that the US has failed miserably in counter-insurgency efforts in Iraq.

Iraqi professionals are fleeing the country, which makes the prospect of rebuilding even dimmer.

A preliminary inspector general report on the US reconstruction effort in Iraq finds it plagued by poor planning and poor implementation, according to the NYT.

US contractors are pulling out of Iraq, as the funds for reconstruction dry up.

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