Top US officials publicly condemned today’s anti-Shi’ite bombings across Iraq, which killed at least 50 and wounded hundreds of others. Still being the second major string of bombings in the past few days, many are beginning to doubt the Obama Administration’s narrative that these are isolated incidents that do not represent a broader trend.
With nearly 1,000 reported casualties across the nation in the past week, top adviser Colonel Timothy Reese’s admonishment that the continued presence of 132,000 troops “isn’t yielding benefits commensurate with the effort and is now generating its own opposition” must be ringing in the administration’s ears, even if publicly they have dismissed the colonel’s call to withdraw from the nation as soon as possible.
Ever growing popular opposition and a rising death toll don’t seem to be hindering the claims of dramatic progress being made in the war over six years after the initial US invasion. Still, while the president claims the pullout is “on schedule” he has actually withdrawn relatively few from the nation, even as he dramatically escalates the US war effort in Afghanistan.
Iraqi officials have been at least as confident, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly insisting that the bombings would fail to return the nation to the level of violence it saw in previous years. Yet he too is leaving the door open to keeping US troops in the nation beyond 2011, suggesting the rising conflict is throwing their timetables into doubt, at least unofficially.