Mr. Bush, Let's Debate What Really Is Truly Disgraceful
Several stories of note on Iraq this morning. First, Edward Wong’s story in the New York Times attempts to put a good spin on the development that several Sunni groups allegedly have approached the al-Maliki government about talks since his reconciliation plan was announced Sunday. Yet when pressed, the government gives mixed messages on which groups actually have approached them asking for talks, and Wong’s story doesn’t even mention the biggest stumbling block, which is that the Sunnis wanted a timeline for withdrawal of foreign forces to be in the plan, and al-Maliki stripped it out. It’s as if this inconvenient fact was swept under the rug by Wong to paint a hopeful picture here.
Dexter Filkins’ story in the NYT on our efforts to retake and hold Ramadi three years after “Mission Accomplished” is noteworthy because it mentions that less than a third of the Iraqi battalion went with the Americans to fight in Ramadi because the remainder refused to fight other Iraqis. Worse yet, the story also mentions that the First Brigade of the First Armored Division has lost six soldiers in this battle for Ramadi . . .in just three weeks, and lost another yesterday.
And yet, the president says the report by the Times on the NSA’s monitoring of overseas banking transactions was “disgraceful.” No Mr. President, such reporting is only inconvenient for you. Disgraceful is your conduct and that of your administration to sell this war to us on lies; your dismissal of warnings about the likely Sunni insurgency; the costs to the American taxpayer for this war and the replacement costs to our military to sustain it; and to make the sons and daughters of other folks pay for your mendacity with their lives. That is truly disgraceful.
One last thing: the Post’s Walter Pincus did a story on yesterday’s Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Iraq pre-war intelligence, significant because as Pincus noted:
White's and Pillar's testimony marked the first time intelligence assessments on postwar Iraq have been specifically discussed in a congressional session.
Actually, wasn’t yesterday the first time that the Bush Administration’s handling of pre-war intelligence was discussed in a congressional session? And yet yesterday’s hearing, with an array of knowledgeable guests only merited 13 paragraphs back on Page A4?