Iraq Reality Check

This New Yorker piece by Steve Coll is the best thing I've read on Iraq all year. It highlights the results of a little noticed and still only partly declassified study by the Pentagon that turns a lot of the conventional wisdom about Saddam's final days on its head. In particular it thoroughly debunks the myth that the insurgency we now face was somehow the dictator's last line of defense:

"There has long been speculation that the insurgency, which has so far taken more than twenty-three hundred American lives, might have been seeded in part by clandestine prewar cell formations or arms distributions. In fact, according to the study, there was no such preparation by Saddam or any of his generals, not even as the regime's "world crumbled around it"; the insurgency was an unplanned, evolving response to the political failings and humiliations of the occupation."

Read the whole thing. It's concise and tremendously smart.