Monday, September 20, 2004

Iraq - What The F#*!?

So what exactly is the situation in Iraq? This USA Today OpEd gives us a primer:

With each passing day, the U.S. war in Iraq is looking bleaker and the Bush administration's rosy scenario less convincing.

Just how bad the insurgency in Iraq has become was underscored by a classified intelligence report prepared for President Bush in July and leaked this week. Its outlook for the country by the end of 2005 is tenuous stability at best, civil war at worst.

Certainly, the facts on the ground make the worst-case prediction seem plausible:

• Insurgents control three dozen cities and towns. While most are in the Sunni Triangle, where Saddam Hussein had enjoyed his broadest support, they're spreading and becoming the base for increasingly sophisticated and frequent attacks on U.S. and coalition forces. Those now average 50 a day.

• The number of insurgents, recently put at 5,000 by the Pentagon, now may be 20,000, according to various estimates.

• Deaths of U.S. troops have been climbing since the U.S. turned authority over to an interim Iraqi government on June 28.

In spite of these worrisome developments, the Bush administration continues to put an optimistic face on the situation. It cites progress in bringing democracy and prosperity to Iraq, and says it expects national elections to take place throughout the country in January with the help of 200,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi troops that will assume security operations in just a few months.

As Bill Maher so aptly put it on Real Time on Friday:

George Bush, every day talks about Iraq in a way that seems more and more fantastical. Today he said this country is headed toward democracy. He sounds to me now like Bagdhad Bob. Remember him, the guy who said there are no Americans here while the American troops were rolling in right behind him.

Even Republican Senators have gone on the attack against President Bush on his handling of Iraq.

"The fact is, a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost," said Sen. Chuck Hagel,a Vietnam War veteran who is co-chairman of Bush's re-election committee in Nebraska. He spoke on CBS' "Face the Nation."

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar noted that Congress appropriated $18.4 billion a year ago this week for reconstruction. No more than $1 billion has been spent.

"This is the incompetence in the administration," Lugar, R-Ind., said on ABC's "This Week." Lugar added that the United States needs to train more Iraqi police officers and better coordinate military bombings with Iraqi forces "so that we do not alienate further the Iraqi people by intrusions that are very difficult and are costly in terms of lives."

Sen. John McCain another Vietnam War veteran, was asked on "Fox News Sunday" about Bush's often rosy pronouncements about progress in Iraq.

McCain, R-Ariz., said Bush was not being "as straight as we would want him to be" about the situation.


Post a Comment

<< Home