Saturday, June 30, 2007

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

Here's a quick roundup of the good news from Iraq...

From the instantaneous-regret/soft-bigotry-of-low-expectations department, this-
President Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday the U.S. goal there is not to eliminate attacks but to enable a democracy that can function despite violence...

The sad thing is I do know what he meant by this, but if his new revisionist idea of 'victory' is to have a state like Israel-- a functioning country, though under the constant threat of war, the political ramifications of whose existence has lead to regional instability-- then we are truly fucked. The President said of this, "that's a good indicator of success that we're looking for in Iraq." Yikes. Just... yikes.

Meanwhile, via Reason magazine, snapshots of Iraqi democracy-
...[On Sunday] two Sunni Arab blocs boycotted a Parliament session, demanding the reinstatement of the speaker.

The speaker, Mahmoud Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab, was put on leave at the request of a broad coalition of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, after incidents in which he lost his temper at other members and struck them or allowed his guards to rough them up...

...Iraqi forces raided the home of Culture Minister Asad al-Hashimi today [Tuesday] after an arrest warrant accused him of masterminding the 2005 assassination attempt of a secular Sunni politician who was once a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi...

Sounds like the type of government Dick Cheney would be proud of.

And anyone looking at the 'benchmarks' our government is supposedly using to judge the progress in Iraq will be severely depressed. It seems that President Bush yelling at them is not motivation to get things together.

Finally, Glenn Greenwald explores the latest propaganda tactic by the administration (aided on by a gullible, incurious media)... referring to everyone in recent weeks that we're fighting in Iraq as being, or having some connection to, 'Al Qaeda'. Of course, as the McClatchy Newspapers bureau reports, "U.S. military and intelligence officials, however, say that Iraqis with ties to al Qaida are only a small fraction of the threat to American troops. The group known as al Qaida in Iraq didn't exist before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, didn't pledge its loyalty to al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden until October 2004 and isn't controlled by bin Laden or his top aides."

The reason for this is pretty obvious. The insurgency is as bad as ever. Just because we stopped focusing on it-- and because we have now chosen to arm both sides-- does not mean the problem is any less worse off than it was in 2005 or 2006, etc... But it is also clear that the administration has little to gain politically from hyping up the insurgency, because that reminds Americans we are fighting (indefinitely) a war that is not ours, and that-- as even Petraeus and Gates have said-- only a political solution will end things.

As for whether that political solution will come before one for Israel/Palestine, you'll have to ask President Bush.


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