Faced with persistent sabotage and an increase in guerrilla violence, the Bush administration faces unpalatable options in Iraq, especially as the country approaches the beginning of the year before the election. Real imperial powers ought not to be distracted by elections.
It can send more American troops, either National Guard or Reserve units, or new units drawn from recruits or eventually perhaps from a draft. This choice is unpalatable because it would be an admission that the administration had made serious mistakes in its calculations about how many troops were needed. Moreover, it would give the lie to the president's claim on the aircraft carrier that the war is over.
It can invite the United Nations to send in troops. However, the other Security Council countries are not likely to approve such action unless the United States eats humble pie, admits that it was mistaken in its confidence, and permits the UN to take charge of Iraq. It is virtually unthinkable that the president could accept that humiliation in an election year