Hardly A "Stay The Course" Day For Iraq
The Baker-Hamilton report's consensus begins to get out in what's obviously a carefully planned commission leak strategy.
The Pentagon announces its next steps.
And Mah- I'm- in- the- moud for hypocrisy Ahmahdinijad (rhymes with "I sent you a five-page letter, aren't you glad") shares his thoughts on Iraq with us.
Quite a morning for news-sifting.
Let's dismiss Ahmadinejad first. Two statements stood out:
With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty.and
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?The first statement is quite something, eh? As Iran funds and equips some of the militia that are killing so many and making it so difficult to focus on infrastructure instead of security, we continue to soldier on, rebuilding infrastructure with billions of dollars of investment -- desite Iran's wishes to the contrary. This guy's huevos are clearly bigger than his brain.
And the latter comment? Let's ask ourselves first what, other than getting rich on petrodollars, have the Islamists done for us lately? With "friends" like that, Israel looks very, very good, indeed. But what does that matter if you're schooled in Old School Anti-Semitism? I don't know; I'm just blinded because all my money, movies and news is Jew-controlled, I guess.
Signals on the future
It appears that some elements of Josh Manchester's 6-point "Go Native" strategy may be taking route, with Baker-Hamilton apparently poised to announce a greater focus on training and staged, milestoned withdrawals. Manchester points out that if logistical support is moved to forward bases and Americans fight in intermixed Iraqi-American squads, troop drawdowns are quite feasible.
Staged, milestoned withdrawals are problematic, though, because if the enemy knows the milestones, they have the blueprint for messing up the plan and a list of targets -- political, military, infrastructure -- to attack. I'm counting on Baker-Hamilton to have a few good ideas but to be unimplementable as proposed, like much of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
Meanwhile, General Peter Pace said troops will be moved from elsewhere in Iraq to Baghdad to help quell the violence there. This isn't necessarily counter to Manchester's six points, becuase he doesn't have us shifting to forward bases until more training and integration happens.
It may, however, be in line Manchester's strategy of putting more pressure on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to get control of Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army. That's a job that's going to have to happen in Baghdad and Sadr City.
The quotes from Bush are appropriately tough, conciliatory and untelegraphic. Our president shouldn't be spouting out future plans or sharing with the media what was said in privat to Maliki. While it's hard to rally around Bush's "He's the right guy for Iraq" comment about Maliki, it's tough to find someone else who'd do better -- and my bet is that that comment followed a bit of tongue-lashing behind close doors.
"Take al-Sadr out to the woodshed and make a gelding out of him, Nouri, old buddy, or your future will be about as long as a Texas sunset," or some such thing. Of course, Bush is the kind of guy who masks private punches and jabs by taking the blame himself in public:
"One of his frustrations with me is that he believes we've been slow about giving him the tools necessary to protect the Iraqi people," Bush said before boarding Air Force One for the flight home. "And today we had a meeting that will accelerate the capacity for the Prime Minister to do the hard work necessary to help stop this violence."Is General Pace's redeployment of more troops to Baghdad some of "the tools necessary?" If so, it means that Maliki is going to allow more direct conflict with al-Sadr's forces.
Those who criticise the President of staying the course ignore days like yesterday and today, days that make it clear that he and his generals may well be ahead of Baker-Hamilton and everyone else.
Related Tags: War in Iraq, War on terror, Bush, Maliki, al Sadr, Foreign affairs