Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Monday, March 20, 2006
Iraq, Three Plus One
So today is the first day of year four in Iraq, eh?

Slate's roundup of the newspapers is a very good daily read. Today, they do a particularly good job of highlighting the status of Iraq. Let's take a look:
All the papers lead with Iraq. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal focus on the statements by President Bush, and top people in his administration, who insisted yesterday that progress has been made since the invasion of Iraq three years ago. They all made a particular effort to counter any talk of a civil war.
This is more of the same. Much more. But it's not surprising coming from leadership that believes that messaging is more important than substance. And in a way, I can understand how this administration monster got created. American's have become so enamored with tabloidism that inevitably sacrifices substance for sizzle, it's no wonder smart politicians aren't exploiting voters. So no matter what the reality is in Iraq, everything is going fine, just fine.

HEY, look at that shiny new bobble over there!
Meanwhile, former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi disagreed with this evaluation and told the BBC that a civil war had already broken out.
Perhaps Allawi has an ax to grind and thus, motivation to exaggerate. Perhaps he doesn't. It becomes a credibility issue and frankly, I trust Allawi's assessment above Bush's. Credibility is the art of comparing words with actions. The "action" in Iraq compares more accurately to Allawi's statements than Bush's.
USA Today leads with its own analysis of U.S. military data since 2004 that shows there has been a steady decline of U.S. military deaths in Iraq, while at the same time Iraqi casualties have increased to record numbers. The paper says this illustrates that the insurgency is increasingly targeting Iraqis, and that the local army and police force are playing a bigger role.
That's one interpretation. Another is that the U.S. air war that Sy Hersh discussed/predicted months ago has begun. And yet another is that targeting has changed because the U.S. is on it's way out and those who want power need to shift their focus to Iraqi enemies, sometimes called a c ... i ... v ... i ... l w ... a ... r. And yet another is that executions are rampant due to the un-civil war. Anyway you cut it, Iraq is a mess with lots and lots of people dying, a distinct movement towards another Islamic fundamentalists country that has dramatically increased the instability in the Middle East.

Tell me again, why did we go into Iraq?

And how's that new Iraqi leadership holding up?
The Los Angeles Times leads with Iraqi officials agreeing to form a 19-member national-security council that will decide on policy relating to security and economic issues. It will include the president, the prime minister, and the leaders of the main political parties. This council, which will have more power than the still-unnamed Cabinet, is not mentioned in the country's constitution. To approve a policy, it will require the agreement of 13 of the council's members, which gives the nine Shiites virtual veto power, if they stick together.
And the band played on.

While Iraq falls apart, Iraqi leaders who still suck at the American teat can't get off their fannies and actually, like, lead.
Some U.S. lawmakers agreed with Allawi's statement that a civil war had already broken out in Iraq. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said Iraq was in the middle of a "low-grade civil war." Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney said that the insurgents have always wanted to start a civil war, adding, "I don't think they've been successful."
Ah, the great patriots of the political center (Hagal). The cowards of Congress continue to sit on their hands while thousands die, billions get spent (or stolen), the U.S. Constitution gets ripped apart, and Rome burns.

And finally. The American military. Young people, too young, being put in an impossible situation demanding maturity far beyond them and enduring the blunt force of Bush's stupidity. They're in a place where, almost literally, everyone wants to kill them.
Knight Ridder got its hands on an Iraqi police document that says American troops executed 11 people, including an elderly woman and an infant, after a raid last Wednesday. A U.S. military spokesman said they had never heard of the allegations and added that it's "highly unlikely that they're true."
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. The comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam are daunting. And I fear the end result will be the same.

I know a post like this is not particularly "news" to anyone who reads my stuff regularly. I am so slack-jawed amazed at how this generation has repeated the Vietnam disaster that I just can't get away from seeing every development in the unfolding train-wreck as freakin' amazing. Just absolutely freaking amazing.