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November 01, 2006

Edging Toward Even More Chaos In Iraq

Posted in: 2006 Election,BushCo,Congress,Foreign policy,Iraq,War on Terror

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President Perpetually Campaigning has been running around the country in Air Force One, visiting red state districts in an effort to rev up a base that is normally already on GOP simmer, and tossing off straw men.  To wit:

"The Democrat [sic] goal is to get out of Iraq," he said in Sugar Land. "The Republican goal is to win in Iraq. I'm not saying that these Democrats are unpatriotic. I'm just saying they're wrong."

Oh, the horror. Except for one thing — the truth of the matter is that we are not winning in Iraq, and that the President knows it when he lies to the faces of his hand-picked, fervent crowds.  President Bush — still lying to himself, still lying to the public about Iraq.  Isn't it high time we held him accountable for it?

The NYTimes has a copy of a PowerPoint slide used for a high level briefing just two weeks ago that shows what a liar the petulant George truly is:

The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from “peace,” an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked “chaos.” As depicted in the command’s chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.

An intelligence summary at the bottom of the slide reads “urban areas experiencing ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaigns to consolidate control” and “violence at all-time high, spreading geographically.” According to a Central Command official, the index on civil strife has been a staple of internal command briefings for most of this year. The analysis was prepared by the command’s intelligence directorate, which is overseen by Brig. Gen. John M. Custer….

According to the slide from the Oct. 18 briefing, the variables include “hostile rhetoric” by political and religious leaders, which can be measured by listening to sermons at mosques and to important Shiite and Sunni leaders, and the amount of influence that moderate political and religious figures have over the population. The other main variables are assassinations and other especially provocative sectarian attacks, as well as “spontaneous mass civil conflict.”

A number of secondary indicators are also taken into account, including activity by militias, problems with ineffective police, the ability of Iraqi officials to govern effectively, the number of civilians who have been forced to move by sectarian violence, the willingness of Iraqi security forces to follow orders, and the degree to which the Iraqi Kurds are pressing for independence from the central government.

These factors are evaluated to create the index of civil strife, which has registered a steady worsening for months. “Ever since the February attack on the Shiite mosque in Samarra, it has been closer to the chaos side than the peace side,” said a Central Command official who asked not to be identified because he was talking about classified information.

The military brass are increasingly disgusted with the Bush Administration, and it is starting to show more and more — men and women who have survived combat do not spend lives, limbs and materiale lightly, and they are especially disgusted with repeating deadly and costly mistakes to save some sorry politician's ass and reputation because he is too stubborn and ego-driven to admit that he made a mistake. 

From the statements of newly retired Generals urging the public to vote for Democrats in November as a means of demanding some accountability on behalf of our soldiers to the most recent statement from Ret. Lt. Gen. William Odom in an LATimes Op-ed (via Froomkin):

Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.

But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.

These realities get worse every day that our forces remain in Iraq. They can't be wished away by clever diplomacy or by leaving our forces in Iraq for several more years.

It is time for the Bush Administration to stop lying — to themselves, to our soldiers and their families, and to the American public.  Juan Cole has much, much more on the chaos that is Iraq, and how much worse the situation has grown by the day under the Bush Administration's failure to plan, failure to adapt and failure to learn from all of their mistakes. 

It is time for accountability, because in five plus years of a Republican-controlled Congress and White House, we have seen nothing but profligate spending, rampant cronyism, and a whole lot of butt-covering rubber stamping…and not much else.

The Republican party has forfeited the right to control Congress by their very inaction on behalf of our nation and our soliders. The military brass is correct: if you want accountability, you must vote for Democrats. And we are desperately in need of some accountability in this nation of ours. Had enough?

UPDATE:  VoteVets has a new ad on Iraq that you need to see.


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