For months doubts over Iraq have risen along with the death toll. Last week a tipping point was reached as political leaders in Washington and London began openly to think the unthinkable: that the war was lost.
Republicans worried about losing Congress are challenging the President on Iraq, eroding George W. Bush's base of support for the unpopular war just two weeks before voters decide the legislature's future leaders.
When senior State Department official Alberto Fernandez said in an interview on Al Jazeera Saturday that US policies in Iraq have been marked by "arrogance" and "stupidity," he was expressing a sentiment widely held in the Arab world. To many Arabs, it was a stunning moment of candor.
President Bush himself said it "may be true" that the events in Iraq this month were similar to the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The president was responding to a column by Tom Friedman of the New York Times.
The White House on Monday said that President Bush was no longer using the phrase "stay the course" when speaking about the Iraq war, in a new effort to emphasize flexibility in the face of some of the bloodiest violence there since the 2003 invasion.