Thursday, May 25, 2006

Another Bush "turning point" for Iraq

Sidney Blumenthal writes about the Bush administration's latest Iraqi "turning point" in Salon (watch ad for free day pass.) Yeah, after five months the Iraqis in the green zone have announced that they have actually formed a government. To govern what? The green zone?
" This latest "turning point" reveals an Iraqi state without a social contract, a government without a center, a prime minister without power and an American president without a strategy. Each sectarian group maintains its own militia. Each leader's influence rests on these armed bands, separate armies of tens of thousands of men. The militias have infiltrated and taken over key units of the Iraqi army and local police, using them as death squads, protection rackets and deterrent forces against enemies. Reliable statistics are impossible, but knowledgeable reporters estimate there are about 40 assassinations a day in Iraq. Ethnic cleansing is sweeping the country. From Kirkuk in the north to Baghdad in the middle to Basra in the south, Kurds are driving out Turkmen and Arabs, Shiites are killing Sunnis, and the insurgency enjoys near unanimous support among Sunnis. Contrary to Bush's blanket rhetoric about "terrorists" and constant reference to the insurgency as "the enemy," "foreign fighters are a small component of the insurgency," according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Patrick Cockburn, one of the most accurate and intrepid journalists in Iraq, wrote last week in the Independent of London that "the overall security situation in Iraq is far worse than it was a year ago. Baghdad and central Iraq, where Shia, Sunni and Kurd are mixed, is in the grip of a civil war fought by assassins and death squads. As in Bosnia in 1992, each community is pulling back into enclaves where it is the overwhelming majority and able to defend itself." "
The whole article is worth sitting through an ad.

The U.S. does not have enough troops to disarm the militias, it cannot train an Iraqi Army that will not break up into its sector militias, and the so-called Iraqi government cannot gain control of the nation overall. Nor does George Bush have any strategy for making any of the good stuff happen.

Instead, as I predicted last Fall and predict again now, the Bush administration is going to declare victory and bug out (mostly) before the American election in November. They may save a few Republican seats by doing that.

Iraq is an unnecessary military disaster that George Bush and Dick Cheney closed their eyes and marched into just as fast as they could. They broke it, they own it, and there is not a single damned thing they can do about it now except pull out and hope the Iraqis have enough good sense to stop killing each other.

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