A top US adviser on Iraq has accused the US military of glossing over an upsurge in violence, just months before its troops are due to be withdrawn.
Iraq is more dangerous now than a year ago, said a report issued by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart W Bowen Junior.
He said the killing of US soldiers and senior Iraqi figures, had risen, along with attacks in Baghdad .
The report contradicts usually upbeat assessments from the US military.
It comes as Washington is preparing to withdraw its remaining 47,000 troops from Iraq by the end of the year, despite fears that the Iraqi security forces might not be ready to take over fully.
“Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work,” Mr Bowen concluded in his quarterly report to Congress. “It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago.”
The report cited the deaths of 15 US soldiers in June – the bloodiest month for the American military in two years – but also said more Iraqi officials had been assassinated in the past few months than in any other recent period.
I though as recently as a month ago that Barack Obama would be able to campaign in 2012 as the president who got Bin Laden, who deposed Gaddafi, and who presided over the last act of a minor victory in Iraq. Today, it looks like only the first is a sure thing. The Libya operation, which should have been a certain victory of grinding attrition, is on the cusp of failure (see also here, here, here and here)- an unbelievable outcome that seems to require almost willful mismanagement. Suddenly, the Obama 2012 campaign looks to running on the rails of debt and defeat. Given the structural advantage of the Democrats in the Electoral College, the powers of incumbency, and the very large Obama war chest, I had long assumed that re-election was inevitable. As inevitable as a victory in Libya, perhaps? But there is nothing so certain that it cannot be lost by an incompetent executive.