As the word "quagmire" re-enters the headlines, nearly dormant since Vietnam, Alternet's Jim Lobe assesses the situation in Iraq: a USA Today headline on Thursday reported "U.S. Troops May Be In Iraq for 10 Years: Defense officials reportedly seek up to 54 billion dollars a year." Morale is tanking (a sergeant stationed in Iraq told the Washington Post, "The war is supposed to be over, but every day we hear of another soldier getting killed. Saddam isn't in power anymore. The locals want us to leave. Why are we still here?"). The number of troops still in Iraq--150,000, with some 30,000 more provided by coalition partners on the way--is fast approaching the 200,000-troop estimate pooh-poohed as "wildly off the mark" by Paul Wolfowitz when predicted by former army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki. Soldiers are still being killed at a rate of one every two days, despite the fact that Bush has proclaimed the war over.

Lobe asks: "So why are we in this handbasket? Is it the result of grave errors of judgment or part of a neoconservative master plan?"

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