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Saturday, October 08, 2005

I could have told all those experts myself 

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WASHINGTON — Senior U.S. officials have begun to question a key presumption of American strategy in Iraq: that establishing democracy there can erode and ultimately eradicate the insurgency gripping the country.

The expectation that political progress would bring stability has been fundamental to the Bush administration's approach to rebuilding Iraq as well as a central theme of White House rhetoric to convince the American public that its policy in Iraq remains on course.

But within the last two months, U.S. analysts with access to classified intelligence data have started to challenge this precept, noting a "significant and disturbing disconnect" between apparent advances on the political front and any progress in reducing insurgent attacks.

Now, with next Saturday's constitutional referendum appearing more likely to divide than unify the country, some within the Bush administration have concluded that the quest for democracy in Iraq, at least in its current form, could actually strengthen the guerrillas.

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