- Violence is on the rise,
- Iraqi troops aren't showing up to secure neighborhoods,
- U.S. troops are having to revisit neighborhoods they'd already cleared, and
- Iraq's politicians haven't met any of their benchmarks.
The current surge, which President Bush announced on Jan. 10, was to be different. U.S. forces in Baghdad were to increase by at least 17,000, bringing the total U.S. force in Baghdad to more than 30,000. The troops were to work alongside 30,000 Iraqi army and national police forces and 21,000 policemen to secure neighborhoods. U.S. forces would be stationed in neighborhoods in newly built mini-bases and patrol with their Iraqi counterparts.McKlatchy Newspapers also points out [elsewhere] that the Secretary of Defense will not let the McKlatchy reporters on the Press plane with the rest of the Press Corps.
That hasn't happened as rapidly as U.S. commanders had hoped. In an assessment completed at the end of May, one U.S. division found that U.S. and Iraqi forces control only 146 of 457 Baghdad neighborhoods. [Snip]
Last October, ... Casey [Then U.S. military ground commander in Iraq] said then that the Iraqi forces were improving and that the plan was having a "dampening effect" on sectarian violence, in spite of statistics that suggested otherwise.
"We are about 75 percent of the way through a three-step process in building those forces," Casey said of the Iraqi army. "Their leaders are feeling more responsible for the security of Iraq, and they want to take the reins, and I think we need to do that."
Four days later, the U.S. announced the end of its security plan, conceding that violence had reached unprecedented levels.
With honest reporting going on by McKlatchy reporters, is that any surprise that the DoD and Bob Gates don't want them around in this, the final collapse of the failed and unnecessary war in Iraq? Their motivation is clear. The real question is what the rest of the Press Corps is suppressing in order to get those free plane trips? Are they getting anything else for not doing their jobs? Because whatever their price has been, the U.S. Press Corps has sold out and done so way too cheaply.
But why should that matter to TV, the New York Times and the Washington Post? They still have Paris Hilton to report on, don't they? I'm sure Katie Couric is pleased at the exchange. Of course the real journalists who originally had souls and have had to give them up may feel the loss a bit more than the CBS blond bimbo does.
We need to all applaud the American military people who, in spite of the failed political and careerist leadership both inside the military and from the American politicians go forward day in and day out to risk their lives (and often lose them) to do the useless jobs they have been assigned to do. But more than applaud, the Veteran's Administration needs to be properly funded and restructured so that it gives back a little for the sacrifices so many have made in this stupid Republican War.
Oh, wait. that would require leadership in the military and in the White House, wouldn't it? I guess sacking Don Rumsfeld and Peter Pace is a start, but it is damned sure too little and too late.