Devlin offers a series of reasons for the situation, including a lack of U.S. and Iraqi troops, a problem that has dogged commanders since the fall of Baghdad more than three years ago, said people who have read it. These people said he reported that not only are military operations facing a stalemate, unable to extend and sustain security beyond the perimeters of their bases, but also local governments in the province have collapsed and the weak central government has almost no presence.
Those conclusions are striking because, even after four years of fighting an unexpectedly difficult war in Iraq, the U.S. military has tended to maintain an optimistic view: that its mission is difficult, but that progress is being made. Although CIA station chiefs in Baghdad have filed negative classified reports over the past several years, military intelligence officials have consistently been more positive, both in public statements and in internal reports.
Devlin, as part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters in Iraq, has been stationed there since February, so his report isn't being dismissed as the stunned assessment of a newly arrived officer. In addition, he has the reputation of being one of the Marine Corps' best intelligence officers, with a tendency to be careful and straightforward, said another Marine intelligence officer. Hence, the report is being taken seriously as it is examined inside the military establishment and also by some CIA officials.
The above is from Thomas E. Ricks' "Situation Called Dire in West Iraq: Anbar Is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says" (Washington Post) and we're opening with it and moving right into a September 5, 2006 report by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily -- "U.S. Losing Control Fast" (IPS):
The U.S. military has lost control over the volatile al-Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say. The area to the west of Baghdad includes Fallujah, Ramadi and other towns that have seen the worst of military occupation, and the strongest resistance.
Despite massive military operations which destroyed most of Fallujah and much of cities like Haditha and al-Qa'im in Ramadi, real control of the city now seems to be in the hands of local resistance. In losing control of this province, the U.S. would have lost control over much of Iraq.
"We are talking about nearly a third of the area of Iraq," Ahmed Salman, a historian from Fallujah told IPS. "Al-Anbar borders Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the resistance there will never stop as long as there are American soldiers on the ground."
On the assessment Ricks is writing of, it's interesting to note that Donald Rumsfeld should have had a copy (did he read it? Condi Rice gives the impression that no one in the administration reads -- or registers -- anything). The copy would have been available to him before he lashed out at war critics and likened them to Nazi appeasers.
A number of members are noting Danny Schechter's latest News Dissector where he looks back at 9-11 (when his News Dissector started -- though he was using label many years prior to going online with it, just to be clear) and comments on those events as well as offers his original writing on the topic from that day. We'll note this section, dealing with Iraq:
It was only back on PBS, in one of Jim Lehrer's interminble beltway blather sessions, that one got an inkling of what the Bush administration may actually be planning to do once the final fatality count sinks in and the sadness of the funerals and mourningbegins. Then, as everyone expects, Americans will go from shock to outrage. One of Lehrer's mostly conservative experts, Bill Kristol, editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, passed on a high-levelleak: Namely that the U.S. will link bin Laden to Saddam Hussein.
Post Script: So there it was--the big secret that Iraqwas the target. Kristol, a part of the neo-conservative led Project for A New American Century, let the cat out of the bag but no one pickedit up and followed up, not even Jim Lehrer. He didn’t even realize what a scoop he had. Soon Kristol, in his magazine and frequent TV appearances would go from disclosing what the Administration would do to becoming a cheerleader for the policy that it wasimplementing, a policy he helped influence. Recall that the President said he would "punish" states harboring terrorists. No one really spent much time discussing what that meant. Now Rupert's emissary was predicting that the game plan might be to ask for a declaration of war against Iraq to "finish the job."
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the washington post
thomas e. ricks