Monday :: Apr 10, 2006

Iraq/Iran Update


by Steve

At the outset of the new week, let’s get caught up on Iraq and Iran.

Iraq

According to Saturday’s Washington Post, our military and diplomatic staff in Iraq says that the greatest threat to stability in that country is now not the Sunni-led insurgency, but rather the Shiite militias that Rumsfeld allowed to fester and grow when he decommissioned the Iraqi army. Yet the story says that three years into this mess, American military planners have still not figured out a way to deal with these militias, which will be even more difficult now since the Shiites we supported run the government.

Saturday’s NYT says that in future wars, after we blow the place up, we will focus on establishing security and political reconciliation, and leave the reconstruction for later. Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for success, doesn’t it? Maybe the wiser course would be to avoid blowing the place up in the first place, don’t you think?

Retired Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold writes in Time magazine yesterday that he opposed the civilian “zealots” who pushed the Iraq war, but now he regrets that he didn’t fight them harder rather than retiring. Newbold is the third general to call for Rumsfeld’s resignation.

Sunday’s NYT reports that an internal study by the US Embassy in Baghdad paints a bleak picture of the sectarian fighting, and concludes that things are far worse in the country than the military says they are, with at least six provinces seeing major instability. In short, the country is out of control, and prospects for a new, stronger central government are more remote now.

We seem to be spending more effort towards a disinformation campaign about Zarqawi against Iraqis and our own media than we are about figuring out how to deal with the Shiite militias.

No one in the region believes anymore our rhetoric about bringing democracy to the region.

The war is destroying the Army, as there are a record number of young officers leaving the service.

Iran

To try and cool off the damage done to Bush and Cheney’s secret war gaming by Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker story, the White House planted a story in the Sunday Post that said any attack would be down the road, and that these scary stories about attacks are partially intended to threaten the Iranians towards moderation. (Yeah, that should work). Exactly how can we dictate to the Iranians anything on nuclear proliferation after we rewarded India for violating the NPT? Hersh, for his part, made the rounds over the weekend, and stopped Wolf Blitzer in his tracks when he said there would be resignations amongst the high brass if Cheney insists on using nukes in Iran. The brass wants the nuclear option off the table, but Cheney is resisting. The brass’s support for Bush is near the edge, according to Hersh, who also describes Bush’s quest to “save” Iran by bombing it as another “messianic” quest by Dear Leader. And it should not surprise anyone that the administration is trying to hype the Iranian threat far beyond what the IAEA thinks about Iran’s capabilities.

And with Hersh getting the story out there to the White House’s dismay, they are furiously trying to backpedal and claim that no such attacks are imminent.

The Bush Administration has now backed away from talking with Iran about Iraq stability.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that any talk about the United States using bunker-busting nuclear bombs against Iran is “completely nuts.”

Polls

Against this backdrop, it's no wonder that the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows Bush’s approval rating at its lowest level ever, 38%, with 60% disapproving of his performance. The “strongly approve” rating of 20% is dwarfed by the “strongly disapprove” rating of 47%. Fifty-eight percent now believe that the Iraq war was not worth fighting.

Steve :: 9:27 AM :: Comments (12) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!