Monday, September 10, 2007

No Surprises

I didn't watch any of the Petraeus/Crocker testimony. I listened to a bunch of Joy Division cds instead. But I've read the accounts of the testimony in the Post and the Times and here's what I've learned:

1) Petraeus says the military objectives of the surge "are in large measure being met."
2) Petraeus says there can be a reduction of U.S. forces in coming months without jeopardizing gains made by the surge.

Both of these statements are crap.

While the Pentagon and the administration are claiming casualties are down in Iraq, the Washington Post reported last Thursday that Petraeus and the administration are cherry picking stats and/or simply manipulating the data. For instance, bodies shot in the front of the head are not added to the sectarian violence statistics; only bodies shot in the back of the head are.

No wonder sectarian violence is down - they've stopped calculating the stats honestly.

As for the reduction of forces in coming months - perhaps as many as 30,000, according to Petraeus - that was already a given because of troop rotations. The military has to either withdraw 30,000 troops by next spring or extend deployments.

So when Petraeus says the draw down is coming because things are going well, he is full of crap.

In any case, the general and the White House (and they belong together - General Petraeus is as big a partisan Bushie as any of the other hacks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) achieved their objectives today.

Republicans in the Congress will stick w/ the preznut and the general and continue to back the surge policy.

The Dems will get no firm troop withdrawal legislation.

There will be no pull-out from Iraq until after Bush leaves office (if even then.)

This has ALWAYS been the goal of Bush's surge policy - to kick the ball down the road and make the next president clean up this preznut's mess.

Well, mission accomplished, General Petreus. Mission accomplished, Bushie.

But as Chris Matthews noted on Hardball tonight, while Repubs and the White House may have won the battle of the surge, the war over public opinion has been lost.

Whichever politicians back the preznut and the general better watch out in '08.

There is a lot of anger over the war now.

What's that anger going to look like when '08 comes and the same amount of troops are in Iraq as were there in November of '06.

Sure Dems pledged to get the troops out and have failed.

But most people are smart enough to note that a 29 seat majority in the House and a 2 seat majority in the Senate are not large enough to override a preznut who is adamant about passing on this war to the next president.

If I were a Repub backing the preznut on his policy tonight (or the one Dem who shifted to supporting the preznut's policy), I'd start looking for another job come November '08.

Especially if recession hits on top of all the rest.

POSTSCRIPT: BTW, whatever happened to all those political benchmarks the Iraqi government was supposed to meet?

You know, the ones the surge was supposed to help along.

Oh, yeah - they didn't meet ANY of them.

Another mission accomplished.

Maybe if we stay another 5 years.

Or ten.

they've stopped calculating the stats honestly.
The heartening part about this growing fraud is that people are seeing through it. Or not seeing the offending stats, but relying on other perceptions.
That seems to go for most of the attempts to warp the figures.
Most of the people are seeing through it. But the ones who matter - members of the GOP who have been propping up this preznut and his policies for the last 6+ years - are coming around to propping him up for the next 30 months.

Not a big surprise, I think. Repubs tend to play follow the leader even when the leader is taking them off a cliff. I think it's that need to be "led" by a "strong leader" that John Dean wrote about in his book on authoritarianism.
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