Monday, May 22, 2006

Another "Turning Point" In Iraq

When will the schmucks on wheels writing Bush's cue cards realize phrases like "turning point" and "turned the corner" don't mean much to people when you repeat them over and over and over and over and over again? From the Washington Post:

President Bush said today the war in Iraq has reached a "turning point" with the formation of a unity government Saturday in Baghdad, but he suggested the conflict may be far from over.

"Our nation's been through three difficult years in Iraq. And the way forward will bring more days of challenge and loss," Bush said in an address to a restaurant trade group in Chicago. "The terrorists did not lay down their arms after three elections in Iraq and they will continue to fight this new government. And we can expect the violence to continue."


Bush said that although he expects the insurgency to continue in Iraq, "something fundamental changed this weekend" with the formation of the first permanent government since the ouster of Saddam Hussein. The government, which consists of Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds, was formed after an election in December and months of negotiations.

"The terrorists are now fighting a free and constitutional government. They're at war with the people of Iraq," Bush said. "And the Iraqi people are determined to defeat this enemy. And so are Iraq's new leaders. And so is the United States of America."

Given all the violence still raging throughout the country and the fact that the new "free and constitutional government" has distributed the power in its ministries along sectarian lines, there is no real reason to believe that "the Iraqi people are determined to defeat this enemy" since there seems to be a lot of different enemies in Iraq these days, depending upon who you are and what your last name is. And then of course there's that little problem where the ministries in charge of security haven't had anybody named to lead them yet:

Even as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and his cabinet were approved by parliament, violence coursed through Baghdad, and the ministries most responsible for security were still without permanent leaders, the result of continued political stalemate.

Al Maliki pledged to choose independent candidates without connections to militias to run the ministries of interior, defense and state national security. He said it could take up to a week. In the meantime, al Maliki, a Shiite, will oversee the interior ministry, and his two deputy prime ministers, one a Sunni, the other a Kurd, will be acting defense minister and minister of state for national security.

Yeah, good luck finding independent candidates without connections to militias to run the interior, defense, and state national security. I'm sure that'll happen just as soon as the various militas in the country give up their arms and sing "Ring Around The Rosy" together in one large "We Are the World" kind of gathering.

No, not happening. The formation of a unity government is nothing but an opportunity for Bush to declare "Mission Accomplished Again" and announce a drawdown of troops so that the GOP can run on a "Victory in Iraq" platform in November (or at least say they're pulling the troops out.) But does this really sound like a turning point to you?

"I don't have much faith that this new government will achieve democracy and security," said Zekki, a 65-year-old Sunni Muslim Arab with carefully slicked hair. "We should not be desperate. We must have hope. But until now we have no sign of hope, not even a glimpse."

Across this country, Iraqis of all backgrounds struggle to gin up enthusiasm for their long-awaited government, which was approved by parliament Saturday after five months of political haggling.

As Prime Minister Nouri Maliki took up his new duties Sunday amid continuing violence, the voices of Iraqis were a window into the steep challenges that lie before him — and a harsh illustration of the divide between the high-flown rhetoric of Iraq's ruling elite and the depression, anger and vengeance on the streets.

After three years of war and uncertainty, many Iraqis are too busy to lend much emotional energy to the political process. They are exhausted from bloodshed, distrustful of their neighbors, grappling with questions of identity and sectarian violence.

They are also keenly aware that most of their political leaders spend their days locked in the heavily fortified Green Zone, shielded from the rest of the country by foreign soldiers and strict checkpoints.

Doesn't sound like a turning point to me. Sounds more like "Peace with Honor" bullshit to give political cover to the drawdown the GOP wants before the November midterms. And of course if Bush and his minions were listening to his generals, he know that a drawdown now may not be a good idea anyway:

It may not be possible to reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq this year, according to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's testimony before a Senate committee. In addition, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the same committee it will be months before any Iraqi army units are ready to operate completely on their own.

But the only general Bush really listens to is Karl Rove and I'm sure Rove is telling him, "Let's start the drawdown so we can turn these poll numbers around."

What a joke. A bloody, bloody awful joke.

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