Pentagon report to Congress less than optimistic about Iraq

Friday, September 01, 2006 at 04:57 PM

Details from the mandatory Pentagon report to Congress on the state of affairs in Iraq became public today.  "Not optimistic" is a tremendous understatement.

Among the noteworthy points:

++Sectarian violence is spreading in Iraq and the security problems have become more complex than at any time since the U.S. invasion

++Illegal militias have become more entrenched, especially in Baghdad neighborhoods where they are seen as providers of both security and basic social services

++Death squads targeting mainly Iraqi civilians are a growing problem, heightening the risk of civil war

++Concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months

++The Sunni-led insurgency remains potent, but is now overshadowed by the sect-on-sect killing

++Optimism among ordinary Iraqis has declined