Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bush Administration on Iraq: Moving The Goalposts (Again)

Lowering expectations, an administration speciality, continues to apply to the Iraq situation-
U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success...

Enactment of a new law to share Iraq's oil revenue among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions is the only goal they think might be achieved in time, and even that is considered a long shot. The two other key benchmarks are provincial elections and a deal to allow more Sunni Arabs into government jobs.

With overhauls by the central government stalled and with security in Baghdad still a distant goal, Petraeus' advisors hope to focus on smaller achievements that they see as signs of progress, including local deals among Iraq's rival factions to establish areas of peace in some provincial cities...

A far cry from the mighty surge fantasy the President unleashed on us in January, no?

But Gates said last week that U.S. officials may have over-emphasized the importance of Iraq's central government.

"One of the concerns that I've had," Gates said, "was whether we had focused too much on central government construction in both Iraq and Afghanistan and not enough on the cultural and historical, provincial, tribal and other entities that have played an important role in the history of both countries."

Only took 'em four or five years to figure that one out. Gold star, Mr. Secretary.

Salon's Joan Walsh looks at how this may play out in domestic policies come the mythical September moment-
September is crucial on several fronts: The defense budget, and the Iraq supplemental funding bill, come up then, too. Will Republicans make good on their threats to cancel Bush's blank check, or will they just let the administration continue to define success downward? Will Democrats devise a political strategy they can stick to before Labor Day, rather than caving in as they did before Memorial Day? You can count on one thing: The Bush administration and whatever generals he puts in charge won't be any more truthful in September than they were in January, or May. It's on war opponents, in both parties, to be smarter. Can they learn from their mistakes so far?

Nope. America doesn't learn from its mistakes; that's for pussies.

Operation Buy Time Until 2009 will remain in full effect.


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