It would be wrong to say that the insurgents are beating the Americans on the battlefield. But they don't have to. The insurgents win merely by making Iraq ungovernable. The occupying forces and their Iraqi allies have been losing fewer men than before. But they are no longer the main targets. The Americans and their allies must not stay indefinitely: virtually all Iraqis long for them to go. Yet most of Iraq's elected leaders, struggling to build a coalition, agree that an American rush for the exit would, at this stage, still be likelier to provoke a descent into all-out civil war than prevent it.

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