Mention the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Lawrence Eagleburger and he explodes.
"I defy anyone to tell me how you can use that many people. It is nuts . . . it's insane and it's counterproductive . . . and it won't work," says the Republican former secretary of state and member of the Iraq Study Group. "I've been around the State Department long enough to know you can't run an outfit like that."
The nerve center of Iraq reconstruction efforts, housed in an ornate former Saddam Hussein palace with soaring ceilings and its own espresso bar, the embassy in Baghdad is one of the largest foreign missions ever operated by the State Department. Its complexity and expense, some say, hampers reconstruction efforts and drains cash from diplomatic efforts worldwide.
The above is from Elizabeth Williamson's "How Much Embassy Is Too Much?" (Washington Post) which Lloyd noted and offers: "That's how the mainstream will critique anything Iraq related, when a Republican does." Lloyd also notes a piece on Eliot A. Cohen that we're not linking to and wonders about that? Cohen is not a "war critic." Cohen was PNAC (is PNAC), he's one of the professors that disgraced John Hopkins with his war cheerleading. What Cohen did was critique some of the techniques of a war that he supported and backed and advocated for. Why? Because he was one of the many who grasped that Bully Boy might not be able to pull of the neocon's dream and knew the ground work for blame had to be laid early -- which basically goes: Neocons were not wrong, it was the government that blew the plan. It allows the neocons some cover, if it's accepted, and pins the blame elsewhere allowing them (Cohen hopes) to slither away and plan for another day.
In the New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin's on Iraq duty today with "7 at a Baghdad Wedding Are Killed by a Car Bomb:"
A car bomb that was apparently aimed at a policeman's wedding party in Falluja, west of Baghdad, killed seven guests on Thursday and wounded six, the local police said.
The attack appeared to be part of a mounting battle in western Iraq between insurgents with ties to Al Qaeda and other local and tribal groups, local residents said.
The bomb exploded in the late afternoon as the wedding party was gathering at the home of the groom, a policeman. Neither the bride nor the groom was wounded, but those killed were friends and relatives of the couple, said Abu Khalid, a cousin of the groom.
And Gareth ask us to remember Mr. Tony's empty spin of success not all that long ago as we note this from the BBC:
An attack on a British military base in Basra caused a fire in fuel stores, a military spokesman has said.
The petrol and diesel storage area caught alight after "indirect fire" hit the Iraq base, which is near the Shatt al-Arab Hotel in the city centre.
A visitor wonders why we didn't note Simon Tisdall's "Military chiefs give US six months to win Iraq war" (Guardian of London):
An elite team of officers advising US commander General David Petraeus in Baghdad has concluded the US has six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.
The officers - combat veterans who are leading experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by president George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province.
But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone around the US embassy, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become a race against time, said a former senior administration official familiar with their deliberations. "They know they are operating under a clock. They know they are going to hear a lot more talk in Washington about 'Plan B' by the autumn - meaning withdrawal. They know the next six-month period is their opportunity. And they say it's getting harder every day," the former official said.
By improving security, the plan's short-term aim is to create time and space for the Iraqi government to bring rival Shia, Sunni and Kurd factions together in a process of national reconciliation, us officials say. If that works within the stipulated timeframe, longer-term schemes for rebuilding Iraq under the so-called "go long" strategy will be set in motion. But the next six months are make-or-break for both the US military and the Iraqi government.
We almost noted it via Amy Goodman's mention of it in the headlines for Democracy Now! yesterday and we almost noted in via Times of London. In the end, there were other things that needed noting and wouldn't be noted in many places. It's also true that they don't have six months. (Public opinion turned a long time ago and public opinion has hardened. The 'crackdown' in its latest form has offered nothing but the same old same old.) In the end that's the reason we went with other things. P.S. Goodman's got Wesley Clark scheduled for today's broadcast. So heads up for any Clark supporters or those who think he's too crazy to run for president. (Attempting to start WWIII qualifies as 'crazy.') Second entry will go up this morning but there's a story that has everything so wrong I want to read over it and see if there's not a longer version (with less mistakes) available elsewhere.
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