Prospects for a modest U.S. troop pullback by year's end have been doomed by the Iraqi government's failure to get its political act together, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates strongly hinted yesterday.
Although "the military side of the [U.S. troop] surge has been successful," Gates told NBC's "Meet the Press," the performance of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government in creating political reconciliation is "a disappointing picture."
Gates seemed particularly dismayed that the Iraqi parliament has gone on vacation for a month while U.S. soldiers die. Two months ago Gates bluntly told Maliki, "For every day that we buy you, we're buying it with American blood, and the idea of you going on vacation is unacceptable." The lawmakers adjourned anyway.
The above is from Thomas M. DeFrank's "Iraqi bumbling kills hopes for U.S. pullback, sez Gates" (New York Daily News), noted by Micah. That's cute how Gates blames the Iraqis for Bully Boy's escalation. As if Iraqis haven't repeatedly made clear they want all foreign forces out of their country? As if the majority saw this as a gift and then weren't appreciative enough of it after arrived.
Now remember way back when Gordo of the Times was trying to anything in his power to connect Iran with weapons and we noted (here and here) that the black market in Iraq was deluded with US arms? Lloyd reminds of that (thanks for the links, Lloyd) and notes Glenn Kessler's "Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing" (Washington Post):
The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.
The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
Also today, Camilla Hall and Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) report that the death toll in this morning's bombing in Tal Afar has risend to 27 (from 25). Reuters notes it's now up to 28 and that (counting corpses) there are already reports of 43 dead today. This as AP reports Iraq's power grid is on "the brink of collapse." I supposed Gates can tell us the grid failure is the fault of occupied Iraq as well? At what point does the US government take responsibility for what is their legal responsiblity? Or maybe we shouldn't expect legality in an illegal war to begin with?
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