Saturday, February 17, 2007

No Public Relations Opportunity Left Behind

Secretary of State Condi Rice made a secret trip to Baghdad today to tout the progress of the preznut's surge plan. Strange how this unannounced visit came on the heels of the House delivering a bipartisan no-confidence vote to the preznut's surge plan yesterday. But that's the way this White House works - when the going gets tough, the tough plan a p.r. offensive.

Anyway, the violence in Baghdad has indeed subsided since the troop surge plan went into effect. The Iraqi government is already declaring "Mission Accomplished" for the lower levels of violence in Baghdad, but the Associated Press reports that Sunni insurgents are "streaming out of Baghdad to escape the security crackdown, carrying the fight to neighboring Diyala province where direct fire attacks on Americans have nearly doubled since last summer."

Here's what's happening in northern Iraq as a direct result of the surge:

Some U.S. officers suspect the advance publicity for the Baghdad security plan may have encouraged extremists — both Sunnis and Shiites — to flee the capital for surrounding provinces, including Diyala, where fewer U.S. troops are stationed.

Even before U.S. President George W. Bush announced last month that he was sending in 21,500 more soldiers, mostly to Baghdad, violence had been steadily increasing in Diyala, among the most religiously mixed of Iraq's 18 provinces.


It is unclear how many insurgents have entered the province over the last month. But U.S. officers believe the numbers must be substantial because of the sharp spike in violence.

Last July, U.S. soldiers came under 90 direct fire attacks — meaning weapons aimed straight at them. Last month the number of such attacks was up about 70 percent, to 157 attacks, according to U.S. Col. David W. Sutherland.

Meanwhile, the number of weapons caches seized more than doubled in that time period, from eight in July to 21 last month. That suggests more weapons are also flowing into the province.

"We know one thing for certain: The resistance and fight in Diyala has gotten tougher over the past couple weeks," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Multinational Division-North, which includes Diyala.

Another officer tells the AP he was stationed in Diyala in 2004 and insurgents weren't attacking tanks in open daylight. In 2007, they are. The officer concludes the insurgency has gotten bolder as a result of the big Sunni influx into the area.

So the Bush administration "whack a mole strategy" has worked brilliantly - the U.S. has managed to tamp down violence in Baghdad by adding troops to the city only to find out that violence has increased elsewhere in Iraq. And no wonder - 21,500 additional troops aren't nearly enough to handle the sectarian violence and the insurgency around the entire country. Many more troops are actually needed to permanently alter the security conditions in Iraq, but the Bush administration does not have the numbers to actually accomplish that objective, so instead they send in just enough troops to tamp down violence in one area of the country while it flares in another.

Whoo-hoo! Another Mission Accomplished!

Perhaps the news media will eventually realize that Bushie and the GOPers still with him are doing nothing with this troop surge plan other than playing politics and trying to pass off blame for the debacle they created in Iraq by making it look like Dems brought about defeat by not supporting the surge. The truth is, defeat in Iraq was brought about by the Bush administration's poor pre-war planning, incompetent handling of the occupation, and failure to tell the American people that the war might actually go on longer than just a few months and/or come clean with why they were starting it in the first place.

Nice going, assholes.

BTW, the preznut's surge plan doesn't actually send 21,500 additional troops to Baghdad; it extends the tours of duty of those troops already there in Baghdad and sends others who were already slated to go into Iraq earlier than their initial deployment date.

Therefore, the "surge" is actually an "extension." Dems and anti-war Repubs would do well to start calling it what it is instead of allowing the administration to frame the debate.

The Dems have always allowed others to frame the debate. Why should now be anything different?

Andrew Pass
They've gotten better lately. Otherwise the debate for 2006 would have been framed much differently than it was and we would still have Repubs running the House and the Senate.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?