Endless Cycle

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Over at the New Republic‘s now-defunct &c. blog, Spencer Ackerman observes that the U.S. is now even further away from training the new security force in Iraq than it used to be. The problem is that, while the training itself is going decently, the semi-independent Iraqi government now needs even more troops—325,000 rather than its previous estimate of 275,000—to counter an insurgency that continues to grow. (And in all likelihood there’s still room for the insurgency to expand even further; see John Robb’s figures.)

Although there’s got to be an upper limit here, it’s not too implausible to expect an endless spiral of this sort over the next few years: the U.S. can’t get the new Iraqi army fully trained because the requirements keep moving upwards, which means that American troops stay for longer, helping to swell the insurgency even further, and meanwhile the predominantly Shiite-and-Kurdish army have just enough presence to antagonize Sunni Iraqis but not enough presence to maintain law and order and defeat the insurgency, so the requirements for the new Iraqi security forces go up yet again. One would hope this doesn’t actually happen but it certainly seems to be the trend so far.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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