In a pessimistic assessment of the strategy designed to pull Iraq back from all-out civil war, Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defence attaché at the British Embassy in Baghdad, claimed that extra US forces were not achieving the desired drop in violence.
Mr Campbell, whose remarks may cause embarrassment to Downing Street and anger in Washington, said that the casualty figures for April - in which 1,500 civilians are believed to have been killed - provided no "encouraging" evidence.
Speaking on the record last week to a public audience at Chatham House, the London-based foreign-policy research institute, he said: "The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working, if reduction in casualties is a criterion. The figures in April were not encouraging."
Actually, I believe the criterion is to play out the string. Come September 2 less Sunni and a Shia will have been killed with a nail-gun, dremel, and/or drill and ignoring the dozen more killed than before in explosions the signs of progress will have been just encouraging enough for us to give the ol' plan another six months.
Blather, rinse, repeat.
Only a minimum of another 1,500 to 2,000 dead American soldiers; only a minimum of another $200 billion or so in supplemental appropriations...after this one. All before we finally give up the ghost.
And, hey, the world's biggest mortar target and future Iranian embassy is coming along swell! The rest of the country, not so much.