Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Hate The War

Today's Iraq snapshot covers Chris Hill spinning Congress and a friend called about a briefing at the Pentagon today by Lt Gen Charles Jacoby from Baghdad stating he and Hill were in disagreement over withdrawal or drawdown timelines. The transcript is here and I don't see a difference on that topic.

As with Gen Ray Odierno (top US commander in Iraq), Jacoby seems aware that sectarian conflict includes more than Shia and Sunni. Chris Hill missed that repeatedly as he rushed to assure Congress sectarian conflicts were over and that the 'peace' was holding following the previous 'civil war' (which was genocide -- when group controls the government and military, it's genocide). Jacoby grasps that the conflicts between Arabs and Kurds could beocme a sectarian war -- and that would be a civil war. The Kurds have their own fighting force, trained and equipped. Which means it wouldn't be as easy as it was for Nouri's forces to drive so many Iraqis out of their own country.

I don't want to give the impression that Jacoby's not spinning. He is spinning. That is their job, any spokesperson is supposed to spin it to emphasize the positive. But you can do that -- and leave out a great deal -- without lying.

Chris Hill is either a complete idiot or a natural born liar. It may be the former. All this time later, his own remarks still reveal huge gaping holes in his comprehension of Iraqi issues. I'm not saying here, "He's wrong because he doesn't grasp my left point of view!" I'm saying he's wrong because he doesn't grasp it. He doesn't even grasp it in terms of the media narrative. He's off creating his own little Hill World and issuing these statements that have no foundation in Iraq because he reamins so ignorant of the country he's the ambassador to.

He has given up on the draft oil legislation. As a lefty, I'm thrilled about that.

It's a victory for Iraqi unions if the US is going to stop the push forward on that.

But what's he working on?

That push consumed US 'diplomatic' efforts in Iraq. Going far beyond Crocker and far beyond Condi and far beyond Negroponte.

So if the US has stopped that push what's the time and effort that's freed up going to?

The obvious answers are (a) Afghanistan and (b) starting the war on Iran. But Hill's in Iraq. What's he doing instead?

It appears to be nothing.

He is in a cloud of vaguness where nothing appears to register to him. He talked about going to
a service of some form for Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. This was in the afternoon at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There were three services for al-Hakim. Presumably, Hill didn't go to the Thursday one in Tehran. He may have been speaking of the Friday one in Baghdad but he appeared to be speaking of the Sunday one in Najaf. Appeared to be. He lacks all precision and clarity.

He brought this story up on his own. It had nothing to do with the question he was asked. But he brought it up to demonstrate just how 'in touch' with what's going on in Iraq he is.

It only demonstrated how out of touch he is.

So out of touch, in fact, that he quickly began speaking of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (which he referred to by its initials and never clarified what they stood for) and how Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's son Ammar might be in charge of the party now.


That's already been decided. The party's board voted. It's been decided it's been announced. Short of Ammar's death, he's the leader of the party. But even that basic fact escaped Chris Hill whose testimony was that of a student who half-paid attention to about a third of the class lectures and never read the required readings but thinks he can bluff his way through the orals. Repeatedly, Chris Hill seemed out of touch with events in Iraq. Repeatedly.

And this is the US Ambassador to Iraq.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4338. Tonight? 4343.

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