Monday :: Apr 21, 2008

Coalescing


by Turkana

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Baghdad, and she was not wearing an American flag lapel pin. That her trip was unannounced follows the pattern of most visits to Baghdad by Administration officials, the secrecy underscoring the Administration's confidence in the much-touted vastly improved security that has resulted from the surge. After all, Administration officials routinely make unannounced visits to all world capitals. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has complained about Bush showing up unannounced in the middle of the night, but Bush showing up unannounced in the middle of the night pretty much defines his life story. Dick Cheney also has a habit of showing up unannounced, whether it's in Beijing, to beg Premier Wen Jiabao that he be allowed to shoot dissidents in the face, or in Sydney, to hunt koalas. And neither Bush nor Cheney wears American flag lapel pins when making these unannounced visits!

The thrust of Rice's very important unannounced visit to Baghdad was encapsulated in this report by Agence France-Presse:

"I see a coalescing of a centre in Iraqi politics in which the Sunnis, the Kurdish leadership and the elements of the Shiite leadership that are not associated with these 'Special Groups' (alleged Iranian-backed Shiite groups) have been working better than at any time before," she said.

"It is indeed a moment of opportunity in Iraq thanks to the decision of the Iraqi prime minister and the unified Iraqi leadership."

In other words, she was taking a break from visiting various American media outlets to lie about conditions in Iraq in order to actually go to Iraq to lie about conditions in Iraq. Because it was just a couple weeks ago that the L.A. Times reported how well the Sunnis and Kurds were working better than at any time before; and it was just a month ago that Reuters reported how well the Sunnis and Shiites were working better than at any time before. And that moment of opportunity has been such a success, that the Iraqi "government" still can't manage to meet more than 3 of 18 benchmarks set for it before the surge started. And you have to love Rice's careful attempt to marginalize the impact of those Shiite "Special Groups." Which is sort of like saying the Vietnamese were coalescing a pro-American center, in the 1960s, if you just ignored the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. And speaking of those "Special Groups," McClatchy reported on Saturday:

Renegade cleric Muqtada al Sadr on Saturday issued a "final warning" to the Iraqi government, threatening an open-ended "war until liberation" if U.S. and Iraqi troops don't stop their offensive against followers of his militant Shiite Muslim movement.

Sadr's threat signals his growing fury with the joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive against his strongholds in Baghdad's Sadr City and in the volatile southern port city of Basra. Such a rebellion would end Sadr's eight-month-old ceasefire, which was widely credited — even by U.S. military officials — with curbing violence in Baghdad and throughout the Shiite south.

The U.S.-backed Iraqi military continued its two-front attack Saturday against the Mahdi Army and other outlaws, retaking government buildings from militiamen in Basra while waging fierce gun battles in the densely packed slums of Sadr City.

"I'm giving the final warning to the Iraqi government," Sadr said in the statement, which was released by his office in Najaf. "To desist and take the path of peace and denounce violence with its people…(or) we will announce an open war until liberation."

Yeah, things are going just fine, if you just ignore the violence and death and destruction and devastated infrastructure and the odd lack of local political will to do the bidding of an occupying foreign power. And while Rice gets to make safe, unannounced visits, the Americans serving there in uniform don't quite have it so nice. Nor do Iraqi civilians. But what's most upsetting is that the Secretary of State didn't even have the patriotism to wear an American flag lapel pin.

Turkana :: 12:19 PM :: Comments (18) :: Digg It!