So the story racing around the blogosphere is a report by the Marine Corps chief of intelligence that we've lost the Anbar province. Not that we're losing, not that the situation is dire, but we've lost, plain and simple. We were defeated. There is nothing more we can do there.
That's the central question, isn't it? I have not signed on to a troop withdrawal yet, primarily because I agree with Tom Friedman when he says that "we've got to find a way to salvage something out of Iraq." Not just for the Iraqi's sake, but for our sake too. Leaving that country in a state of anarchic civil war would be morally catastrophic, and would permanently damage America's standing in the eyes of the world (on top of the beating we've already taken on that score). Defeat in this war would do indescribable damage to any American effort to lead on any number of pressing international issues: from loose nukes, to brutal tyrants in Iran and North Korea, to the Israeli/Arab conflict.
But reality has a way of intruding on what "we've got to" do, and at some point we have to objectively assess whether or not Iraq is beyond our help. Call me a "defeat-o-crat" if you want, but eventually we've got to ask ourselves whether there is any hope for salvation. Have we reached that point yet? I don't know. But this assessment of Anbar certainly has to raise the question.