Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Deliver us from the stupid and the faux psychics

The United States’ pleas for Iraq’s government to decide “within weeks” whether American troops should stay beyond a year-end deadline to leave will not be met, Iraqi politicians say, complicating plans for the U.S. military withdrawal.
The Iraqi politicians attributed this to a confluence of domestic issues. Political brinkmanship, popular unrest and mounting mistrust among lawmakers have conspired to make a decision on a lasting U.S. military presence politically untouchable for Iraqi politicians for months to come.

The above is from Aaron C. Davis' "U.S. in limbo over Iraq troop presence" (Washington Post) which demonstrates you can report on the topic without looking like an idiot. By contrast, note this from David Elkins (IPS):

Any extension of the SOFA is all but a political impossibility in Iraq since, even though Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, have indicated their desire to keep some troops past the deadline, the response from their constituencies, and from leaders such as Moqtada al-Sadr, strongly opposed to any prolonged presence, would be disastrous for Iraq's fragile parliamentary coalition.

It's "all but a political impossibility," is it? Because you say so? Moqtada al-Sadr made the same threats he makes today in 2006 regarding the extension of the UN mandate. Nouri extended it. Moqtada made the same noises in 2007 regarding the extension onf the UN mandate. Nouri extended it. In 2008, Nouri didn't extend the UN mandate. But only because the SOFA replaced it. And, in 2008, Moqtada made the same threats.

In all cases, nothing ever happened but talk from Moqtada which was quickly forgotten. In 2008, when he was threatening, do you remember the concession that was made to Moqtada? In July 2009, the people of Iraq would get to vote on the SOFA. It's two months shy of July 2011 and, guess what, there was never a vote.

Moqtada al-Sadr is worshipped by some on the left. In terms of verbal statements only, he's a lot like US House Rep Dennis Kucinich in that he makes a lot of promises -- such as he would never, ever vote for ObamaCare -- but then ends up caving.

Meanwhile, US intelligence indicates that Moqtada al-Sadr is at his weakest ever in terms of support and loyalty from his Iraqi followers. Not only does the US know this but it's also been shared with Nouri by the US government.

So based on US intell and based upon past pattern, Moqtada al-Sadr's empty words don't mean much at all. You have to be pretty stupid to claim it's "all but a political impossibility" for Nouri to keep US forces on the ground in Iraq past 2011 based on what Moqtada might do.

But IPS has a pattern of the stupid. In fact, IPS readers should be slamming the site with e-mails insiting, "You told us the SOFA was an end of the war treaty! You told us that it meant the war ended! What is this talk about extending the US presence! According to over two years of your 'reporting,' that could never happen!"

Yeah, IPS predicted on the SOFA. Didn't offer a legal analysis. Just smugly asserted it was something it wasn't and did so for over two years. IPS should really walk away from the predictions. Doing so would help deliver us all from the stupid.

March 2010, Iraq held elections. And Nouri wanted to remain prime minister. And he did. Despite the fact that most Iraqis want the US out of their country. Despite the fact that most Iraqis wanted a referendum on the SOFA and Nouri promised one but never held it. Nouri's a thug and a US puppet. But somehow he's managed to hang on. If he manages past the start of June, when the 100 day deadline he imposed expires -- it will be interesting to see if anything could dislodge him in the coming months. Not only has he managed to retain power, but he's also worked on consolidating power and stealing the power. As prime minister currently, due to his power-grab, he has more control than he's had in the same post at any time previously.

Nouri may or may not choose to extend the US military presence. That's a prediction. (It's true that if he doesn't, the current US plan is to shove the forces under the State Dept and keep many in Iraq that way. A fact that IPS can't seem to find in the latest article.) But to claim that it's "all but a political impossiblity" shows a reliance on fantasy, not on the facts.

Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) has an excellent report on Iraqi hospitals.

35 hours. What's that? Something that may pop up in the snapshot. I'm being pitched the need to call out an effete annoyance in today's snapshot and if I did so it would be because of his lie re: 35 hours. That may or may not be grabbed in the snapshot but we most likely will address the nation's 'civility guru.' We'll also note McCrummen's hospital report. We're short on time due to a conversation that's ongoing and has gone on too long (re: the effete). My fault. I heard some clear bias (and bad reporting) yesterday by effete and happened to mention it on this phone call. I can swing this to Iraq due to a special that's airing this week around the country. If I do grab it, it will probably include something like, "I'm not fond of grown women who sound like little girls, so why should I respect grown men who sound like little girls?"

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