* juan cole: "I gave an interview to Jim Lobe of Interpress Service in which I raised the possibility that there might now be a hung parliament in Iraq, with no group able to form a government, forcing new elections and further political gridlock." (link)
* jcole: "The shoe seems to be on the other foot now, with Muqtada al-Sadr attempting to cool Iraq's Shiites down and Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani threatening to create a paramilitary to protect Shiites." (link)
* wolcott: "But it would be political suicide for Bush to follow such counsel and lift the troop levels in Iraq to crank the war up an aggressive notch: Iraq 3.0: This Time We're Not Dicking Around. Mind you, I'm all for Bush's political suicide, but what's in it for him? Not much and he knows it. He's lost too much political trust and capital, Americans are tired of the war (more tired than the political class and punditocracy), and the military is stretched max. It's too late for a Victor Davis Hanson cavalry charge into the black heart of the Sunny insurgency led by Kristol and his neocon comrades embedded in cable-news green rooms 3000 miles in the rear, cheering, "Kill them! Defeat them!" at the TV monitor in voices loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to disturb Richard Perle napping in his portable coffin."
* wolcott: "Poor President Bush, prince of fools. He let the neoconservative creative destructors play upon his religiosity (and Cheney's power hunger) and persuade him that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would be a transformative moment that would set democracy and freedom in motion across the region, and crown him in history with Churchillian honor. I believe Bush wanted democracy in Iraq, or convinced himself that he believed it after the Chalabi-as-chess-king scheme fell through, because such belief flatters his pride in his own idealism. But the intellectual architects of the policy didn't care. If there was peace and stability in the new Iraq that would strength America's power in the region and bolster Israeli security, fine; if Iraq fissured into factional strife, fire, and chaos, better still."