Friday, July 13, 2007

Iraq realities

The investigation reveals several new details about the assault, including:
•Iraqi police suddenly vanished from the government compound before the shooting started.
•Attackers, evidently briefed on how U.S. forces would defend themselves, bottled up more than three dozen soldiers in a barracks and headquarters complex using a combination of smoke and fragment grenades and satchel charges to blow up Humvees.
•Gunmen knew exactly where to find and abduct U.S. officers.
•Iraqi vendors operating a PX and barbershop went home early.
•A back gate was left unlocked and unguarded.
Investigators recommended several changes to toughen defensive positions, including the installation of closed-circuit cameras to provide better early warnings, "duress devices" that can allow overrun outposts to signal headquarters, and requirements that any arriving convoy provide identification.

The above is from Gregg Zoroya's "U.S. Army report analyzes Karbala attack" (USA Today) about an internal US army investigation into the January 20th attack in Karbala which resulted in one US soldier being killed immediately, three injured and four kidnapped only to turn up dead. Five killed from the one incident. The attackers traveled in the SUV's that are normally utilized by the Iraqi police and were waived through all the checkpoints. In Bully Boy's jaw boning attempts yesterday to sell the lie (another lie?) that the war is 'winnable' and 'progress' (if the meaning of progress is stretched to the point of breaking) is being made, he didn't mention this internal report, did he? Well, he left out a lot but when you float so far from reality, that tends to happen.

Martha highlights Karen DeYoung's "Iraqi Military's Readiness Slips" (Washington Post):

Despite stepped-up training, the readiness of the Iraqi military to operate independently of U.S. forces has decreased since President Bush's new strategy was launched in January, according to the White House progress report released yesterday.
Combat losses, a dearth of officers and senior enlisted personnel, and an Iraqi army that has expanded faster than the equipment available for it have resulted in a "slight reduction" in the number of units designated at Level 1 status, or "capable of independent operations," the report said.

The report's assessment of progress on 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks is likely to fuel ongoing disputes over what is really happening in Iraq. But the fine print in the 25-page document contains some remarkably candid descriptions of problems, as well as qualifiers for claimed achievements and briefly referenced, unexplained new facts.
The Pentagon refused yesterday to elaborate on the "slight reduction" in independent Iraqi units. Any information about the number, size or designation of such units is "in the classified realm," said a spokesman, Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros.

Has decreased. Has decreased. Not increased. That's actually regression, not progression. Note that when the news is bad, the Pentagon stamps "classified" on it. And for another example of how there is no 'way foward' only further lost ground, Lloyd notes Joshua Partlow and Sudarsan Raghavan's "Deadlocked Sunni, Shiite Factions Block Political Progress, Iraqis Say" (Washington Post):

Iraqi politicians on Thursday struck a more pessimistic tone about Iraq than did the White House assessment, and said the deadlock between warring Sunni and Shiite factions makes major political progress unlikely in coming months.
Some Iraqi leaders, including members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ruling Shiite alliance, added that U.S. officials have set unrealistic goals that the Iraqi government cannot achieve at a time of such instability and violence.

Despite that reality, turn on the TV and you can see clips of Bully Boy from yesterday, lying to the American public. One of the more laughable lines he gets off is this: "I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decions based on principle." What principle was that? How to take control of both houses of Congress in the 2002 elections by holding your 'roll out' for an illegal war until the fall? Bully Boy wants to stand on principle . . . with regards to an illegal war he lied the nation into. And, if he does look in the mirror, couldn't he have noticed that someone really laid on his hairspray yesterday? That's why he had that big bump on the left side of his head. The hair looked not just overly sprayed but in need of a good washing. Like a heroin addict, his bathing habits raise eyebrows.

Robert Burns (AP via Los Angeles Times) reports that lies are still the bedrock of the illegal war for the Bully Boy:

While many in Congress are pushing President Bush to alter course in Iraq by September if not sooner, his new status report on the war strongly implies that the administration believes its military strategy will take many more months to meet its goals.
The report cited no specific timeframe, but its language suggests what some U.S. commanders have hinted at recently: The troop reinforcements that Bush ordered in January may need to remain until spring 2008. That's a military calculation at odds with an emerging political consensus in Washington on bringing the troops home soon.
The disconnect between the military and political views on the best way forward is a symptom of four-plus years of setbacks in Iraq -- not only missteps by the U.S. government but also by Iraqi political leaders, who have fallen far short of their stated aim of creating a government of national unity.

He's lying and saying, "Wait until September." As usual there's a huge gulf between reality and what the American people are told. While Bully Boy boasts and struts, a mother in Baghdad explains that snipers are a bigger problem than anything else in Baghdad and wishes the US would leave. Mike Drummond and Hussein Khalifa's "In Baghdad, even babies quickly learn to duck snipers" (McClatchy Newspapers) tells the story:

Nawal Na'eem Karim was surprised this week to hear her toddler tell her, "Talaq inana! Talaq inana!" -- "Bullets here! Bullets here!"
He was warning her to step cautiously past the windows. Their house is in a kill zone. At 18 months, her baby already had learned counterinsurgency survival. He still wears a diaper.
Karim's family is among hundreds in Baghdad's Shiite Muslim-dominated Amil neighborhood who are under siege in their homes; in this case from two local snipers, one apparently stationed in a minaret of a nearby Sunni Muslim mosque.
Her experience shows that the U.S. troop buildup has yet to penetrate everywhere in Baghdad, as President Bush pressed Thursday for more time for the increase to show results.

More time! cries the Bully Boy. For an illegal war that's already lasted longer than the US involvement in WWII. How badly was he lying and spinning yesterday. For that information,
Micah notes Kenneth R. Bazinet's "Defiant Prez sez funding troops Congress' role" (New York Daily News):

Even the White House was concerned Bush overstepped with his upbeat war talk, sending spokesman Tony Snow out to talk to the cable news outlets to clarify the President's remarks.
"The President isn't saying we're winning. He says we're in a fight. He says we cannot afford not to win," Snow told Fox News.

Lastly, PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio offers (begins airing in most markets tonight):

inspired her colleagues to act and other states to follow suit. Supported by favorable federal court decisions, encouraged by an iconic Governor, and armed with new laws, her state is now on the cutting edge of efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of everything from American power plants to automobiles. On Friday July 13 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW investigates not only California's aggressive stance against global warming, but also strong political opposition standing in the way of its expansion. Are California and the EPA headed for a showdown? Also on the show, "The Algebra Project," an inspiring program to uplift low-income schoolchildren with the power of math.
[. . .]
Launching Friday, a NOW on the News web-exclusive audio interview with Matthew Shepard's mother Judy about hate crime legislation and her son's legacy.

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