This piece from The Associated Press pretty much sums it up:
British troops in the tense southern city of Basra greatly reduced their presence in the streets Thursday, apparently responding to a provincial governor's call to sever cooperation until London apologized for storming a police station to free two of its soldiers…
…Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie called Monday's attack by British forces on a Basra police station "a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty."
…At least five Iraqis were killed during Monday clashes between British forces and Iraqi police and demonstrators.
There’s winning hearts and minds for you.
Elsewhere, a roadside bomb hit a U.S. convoy in southern Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding six others; a car bomb wounded another American soldier outside the capital; and suspected insurgents gunned down at least eight Iraqis in four separate attacks Thursday, officials said.
And speaking of Baghdad, here’s an interesting tidbit from Knight Ridder:
The ethnic cleansing of Baghdad neighborhoods is proceeding at an alarming and potentially destabilizing pace…
…Government officials and academic experts agree that the virtual expulsion of some ethnic groups from mixed communities is troubling and threatens the nation's stability, which depends on a degree of ethnic harmony.
Two years into our occupation of Iraq, the place is up for grabs. There is no “plan” or “strategy” by which we can herd this cat stampede.
As I said in an earlier column, the only argument for “staying the course” that still has any resonance is the one that says we owe the Iraqis something for all the tragic mistakes we made attempting to “liberate” them. But it appears to me that whatever we “owe” them, we’ve come pretty close to paying off.
Saddam Hussein is gone. We have spent enormous national treasure attempting to help Iraq institute a government and establish an infrastructure. If they can’t learn to get along, that’s their problem, not ours. And as the situation in Basrah illustrates, the notion that we can force them to live together in harmony is absurd.
My exit strategy? Get the constitution ratified and get out. When they get their act together, then and only then should we think about going back in and helping them rebuild. Whatever we want in terms of bases or oil we can negotiate for then.