During a White House meeting last week, a group of governors asked President Bush and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about their backup plan for Iraq. What would the administration do if its new strategy didn't work?
The conclusion they took away, the governors later said, was that there is no Plan B. "I'm a Marine," Pace told them, "and Marines don't talk about failure. They talk about victory."
Pace had a simple way of summarizing the administration's position, Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.) recalled. "Plan B was to make Plan A work."
In the weeks since Bush announced the new plan for Iraq -- including an increase of 21,500 U.S. combat troops, additional reconstruction assistance and stepped-up pressure on the Iraqi government -- senior officials have rebuffed questions about other options in the event of failure. Eager to appear resolute and reluctant to provide fodder for skeptics, they have responded with a mix of optimism and evasion.
The above, noted by Martha, is from Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks' "No U.S. Backup Strategy For Iraq" (Washington Post). No back up plan? Well there's really no "Plan A" either since the 'crackdown' has been going on since June of 2006 and Bully Boy's so-called 'plan' is just another version of 'beefing' it up. Good thing all is going so well in Baghdad. What's that? It's not going so well? No. And Bully Boy has no Plan B (maybe he thought that referred to birth control?).
KUNA reports: "Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's house in Baghdad caught fire Sunday, Iraqi security source said." Aseel Kami (Reuters) reports:
A car bomb ripped through Baghdad's booksellers' district on Monday, killing 26 people and setting shops and cars ablaze on the street and sending out choking black smoke that hampered rescue efforts.
A police source said the blast on Mutanabi Street killed 26 people and wounded 54.
"There are many shops set on fire and more than 15 cars were burned out," said a Reuters witness, adding that he helped several injured women into a police car that took seven casualties away to hospital.
"They were covered with blood," he said.
And Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) notes:
The bombing -- potentially the largest in the last several days -- comes as U.S. and Iraqi security forces have sharply cut vehicular access to crowded commercial areas, including the well-known Mutanabi book market.
[. . .]
The market is near Baghdad's central library. Books are sold in shops and on the sidewalk. The commercial zone is mixed between Sunni- and Shiite-owned businesses and shoppers.
The bombing comes on the third week of the Baghdad security plan, a set of measures to step up security in the country's volatile capital.
The number of attacks dropped slightly after the measures were implemented, but in recent days, bombings and other incidents have continued.
In this morning's New York Times, Kirk Semple's "U.S. Makes Largest Move Into Shiite District Since 2004"* reports on the move into the Sadr City section of Baghdad:
The military incursion into Sadr City, widely anticipated for days, lacked any element of surprise. It followed protracted negotiations -- between representatives of Mr. Sadr, neighborhood leaders, Iraqi government officials and American and British military commanders -- regarding the American role in Sadr City, home to at least 1.5 million people.
Mr. Sadr has vowed not to impede the government's latest crackdown in Baghdad, which involves a so-called surge of about 20,000 American troops in the capital. The cleric has privately ordered his militia fighters not to resist the military sweeps regardless of the level of provocation.
Many militia leaders, in turn, have left Sadr City and sought sanctuary in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq and Iran, possibly figuring that they can wait out the offensive and return to the capital later. Their low-level foot soldiers, who have for years operated openly in Sadr City, manning checkpoints and maintaining neighborhood watches, have also remained out of sight in recent days.
*ADDED: Correction, the above is folded into "Basra Raid Finds Dozens Detained By Iraq Spy Unit."
So this is what the Bully Boy sees as success? There is no "Plan B" and that's mainly because there has been no new "Plan A." Just more of the same in the continued illegal war.
The bombing of the book district is going to be a jumping off point to a non-Iraq topic that I saw in the paper this morning and, since it's libraries, we're going to note it. Meredith May's "Largest library closure in U.S. looms" (San Francisco Chronicle) covers library closings (impending closures) in southern Oregon:
The 15 libraries serving this rural forest community lost $7 million in federal funding this year -- nearly 80 percent of the system's budget.
[. . .]
"I wish we could call FEMA; this feels like a natural disaster to me," said Ted Stark, interim library director for Jackson County.
"Libraries are so much more than just libraries in rural areas. This is where all the town meetings are held, where all the kids come after school, where everything -- everything -- happens," he said. Indeed, today;s libraries have evolved from merely loaning out books to providing Internet access, reading hour for babies, community meeting centers and art galleries.
Last fall, Congress failed to reauthorize a $400 million annual subsidy to 41 states to help rural counties prop up their local economies. Oregon took the biggest hit -- $150 million. Jackson County lost $23 million and had to slash everywhere, from reducing jail beds to cutting search and rescue teams.
That meant some hard choices, said Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan.
"Losing libraries is a huge business deterrent -- who wants to move to a city that doesn't have libraries?" Jordan said. "But we decided we had to maintain public safety, which is already taking a $3.5 million cut. We won't be able to monitor misdemeanor sex offenders anymore. The hard reality is that libraries are not an option for us."
One of many victims of the Republican controlled Congress (last fall) and Republican controlled White House. And actually, that is Iraq related -- to tie this back into Iraq, while the federal government can provide no monies to save the 15 libraries in Oregon, the cost of the illegal war is not to be questioned or seriously addressed by the Congress.
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