Thursday, May 06, 2010

I Hate The War

Before the election, and even after it, there were hopes that a cross-sectarian alliance might bridge the divide.
But a successful intervention by the Iranian Government prevented that. Many Shia leaders owe allegiance, and in some cases their positions, to Tehran.

That's from Oliver August's "Fear of bloodshed in Iraq as Iran-backed bloc tries to take power" (Times of London) and are you surprised? Last Saturday, Lara Jakes (AP) reported that Hoshiyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister) has said the US should not be standing by observing but instead urging a solution to the post-election dispute in Iraq. He accused the Barack Obama administration of being more focused on drawdown deadlines than on the state of Iraq. Zebari was calling for help and doing so publicly. You can't get much more clear than that.

And the US did nothing. It offered no leadership. It just sat on the sidelines. Barack Obama is not in Iraq. Christopher Hill is. He is supposed to be the US Ambassador to Iraq. He's done a lousy job and the administration wishes they'd moved to replace him sooner (he's going bye-bye in a few months). But that's really too damn bad.

Republican objections about Hill were valid when they were based on the fact that he said one thing to your face and then did another behind your back. His personnel file goes on and on about just that. It's Barack's fault and it's the Senate Democrats fault. They should have known what he was. He's done a lousy job. And Iraq was already fragile. He's only made it worse with his dithering and his stupidity and his inability to grasp even the basic issues such as Kirkuk. He couldn't even grasp Kirkuk in his Senate confirmation hearing -- despite the fact that he'd been tutored on it.

Iraq was not a success when Hill (finally) got to Baghdad. But he's leaving it worse than it was when he got there and the decay happened on his watch because he didn't know what he was doing. When the fool occasionally asked basic questions about protocol, he'd blow off the advice he was given. There's no way to spin it for Barack. Chris Hill is a disaster.

And go into the archives and you'll see that we warned in real time that the Republicans were going on the record in their objection to Hill but they wanted the Dems to push it (which the Dems did) because Hill was going to be the fall guy for the administration. The Republicans never intended to blame General Ray Odierno for a worsening Iraq. It wouldn't go over with their base. But a diplomat? Someone they could dub an "egg head"? Especially someone who looked the part?

I hear alternate theories from friends in the administration but one that seems very popular is that Barack had to continue the Iraq War ('somewhat') because if he just pulled the troops out (as many Americans believed he promised when running for president) and it went to hell, he would be blamed.

You can buy that or not. I don't and we can come back to it. But if that's what he thought, if his fear was getting blamed when things went to hell? All the more reason to pick a capable and educated person to be the Ambassador to Iraq. He didn't do that. He sent someone over who didn't speak the language and had no interest in learning it. There's no excuse for the embarrassment that is Chris Hill and it's too late for the administration to try to spin this. They hand picked him, they over rode Republican objection to him, he is their error. And what an error he is.

I said I don't buy it. I don't know that Barack believed that or not. He may very well, he may not. But the reality is, he wouldn't have been blamed because he could have presented as: "This is Bush's war, it was a mistake, the country does not support it, the Congress does not support it. It was based on lies and no US service member should continue to be placed in danger for these lies. Bush has left the Oval Office and we're ending this war immediately."

Had he done that, it wouldn't matter what happened to Iraq. He would have pushed it off on Bush and at that time Bush owned it. But that was then. Barack continued the war. It's his illegal war now.

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 4394. Tonight? 4397.

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