Friday, October 20, 2006


The administration's Iraq war policy is a fucking mess. If you want proof, just take a look at a rundown of today's Iraq war headlines, courtesy of Mike at Crest. If you want specific evidence, take a look at this article that explains how Sadr owns his own city in Iraq now:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dispatched an emergency security delegation that included the Minister of State for Security Affairs and top officials from the Interior and Defense ministries, Yassin Majid, the prime minister's media adviser, told The Associated Press.

The Mahdi Army fighters stormed three main police stations Friday morning, planting explosives that flattened the buildings, residents said.

About 800 black-clad militiamen with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were patrolling city streets in commandeered police vehicles, eyewitnesses said. Other fighters had set up roadblocks on routes into the city and sound trucks circulated telling residents to stay indoors.

Fighting broke out in Amara on Thursday after the head of police intelligence in the surrounding province, a member of the rival Shiite Badr Brigade militia, was killed by a roadside bomb, prompting his family to kidnap the teenage brother of the local head of the a-Madhi Army.

The Mahdi Army seized several police stations and clamped a curfew on the city in retaliation.

The United States military now admits its vaunted "security plan" to take the battle to the insurgents in Baghdad has failed. The sectarian violence grows worse by the week. The militias grow more powerful, the Maliki government has become the punchline to a joke. The Army is now reassessing its strategy as the country waits to hear what plan James Baker's Iraq Strategy Group will come up with to help extricate the United States from this foreign policy debacle.

It seems quite clear that the Iraq war is a failure and the United States has suffered only its second military defeat in its history.

While nearly everybody seems to understand these sad facts now, the members of the administration, the preznit and the vice preznit specifically, do not. VP Cheney told Rush Limbaugh this week that the overall situation in Iraq is going "remarkably well." The preznit spent much of yesterday at a fundraiser for embattled Republican Congressman and alleged choker of his mistress Don Sherwood calling Democrats "defeatists" and "cut-and-runners." But the Washington Post says members of his own party are going to give him a dose of reality come November 8th that may just help him pull his head out of his oblivious ass:

The growing doubts among GOP lawmakers about the administration's Iraq strategy, coupled with the prospect of Democratic wins in next month's midterm elections, will soon force the Bush administration to abandon its open-ended commitment to the war, according to lawmakers in both parties, foreign policy experts and others involved in policymaking.

Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame. Agitation is growing in Congress for alternatives to the administration's strategy of keeping Iraq in one piece and getting its security forces up and running while 140,000 U.S. troops try to keep a lid on rapidly spreading sectarian violence.

On the campaign trail, Democratic candidates are hammering Republican candidates for backing a failed Iraq policy, and GOP defense of the war is growing muted. A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released this week showed that voters are more confident in Democrats' ability to handle the Iraq war than the Republicans' -- a reversal from the last election.

Few officials in either party are talking about an immediate pullout of U.S. combat troops. But interest appears to be growing in several broad ideas. One would be some kind of effort to divide the country along regional lines. Another, favored by many Democrats, is a gradual withdrawal of troops over a set period of time. A third would be a dramatic scaling-back of U.S. ambitions in Iraq, giving up on democracy and focusing only on stability.


One point on which adherents of these sharply different approaches appear to agree is that "staying the course" is fast becoming a dead letter. "I don't believe that we can continue based on an open-ended, unconditional presence," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, a centrist Maine Republican. "I don't think there's any question about that, that there will be a change" in the U.S. strategy in Iraq after next month's elections.

Richard N. Haass, a former Bush administration foreign policy official, told reporters yesterday that the situation is reaching a "tipping point" both in Iraq and in U.S. politics. "More of essentially the same is going to be a policy that very few people are going to be able to support," said Haass, now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He added that the administration's current Iraq strategy "has virtually no chance of succeeding" and predicted that "change will come."


Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he is open to "significant changes" in the U.S. approach and is hoping the Iraq Study Group can supply them. "I don't think anyone in the administration is pleased about the current state of affairs," he said. "I would hope that members of the administration are willing to learn from past mistakes . . . and choose a different path that would allow us to meet our objectives."

It does feel like we have come to the watershed moment in the Iraq war discussion. While Bush is still trying to use the "cut-and-run" language that he and Rove think will help tar Dems as the architects of this mess ("They lost the war for us by not having the balls to stick it out!"), it seems to me that nobody outside of the administration's wingiest apologists are buying that argument anymore. The violence is too high, the Maliki government too weak, the options for change too poor for anybody other than Bush, Cheney or Rummy to think this thing can still be won militarily.

This is a good thing. Perhaps now some "responsible adults in the Republican Party"can force Bush, Cheney et al. to deal with reality as it is in Iraq rather than the romantic fantasies they've been trying to sell to the American people.

Unfortunately the next Preznit of the United States, John McCain, wants to send in another 100,000 American troops and bring Democracy and Ponies to Iraq. So it remains to be seen whether the realists in the GOP can help Dems bring some reality to the Iraq policy or whether the boys and girls of the Grand Old Ruling Party will just try and use the Iraq war defeat as a political bludgeon against Democrats for the '08 election.

I suspect we're going to get the latter. Rove, Bush, and Cheney just can't help themselves. And history tells us, most of the "responsible adults in the GOP" just kinda go along with what they want nearly every time. if you don't believe that, take a look at how the Military Commissions act worked out.

I have to wonder what the definition of an "insurgent" is in Iraq now. Does this include the militias? If not, why not? Seems to me the militias are the far bigger problem--power, clout, numbers. All the things that make them possible instigators of massive sectarian violence.
Even the CW sees the militia violence as the bigger problem now. And when you have two different Shiite factions fighting each other while the gov't looks weakly on, as happened this week, it kinda strips away the whole veneer that "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fihgt them here" thing.
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