Sunday, September 09, 2007

Taking it all too hard

By Libby

I'm so sick of talking about this war. I've got that Genesis song playing in my head as I read today's news. Petraeus is about to testify that his fabulous new surge strategy is just the ticket to victory, if only we give it enough Friedman units to succeed. Nevermind that his superiors disagree. Bush will only hear the words he agrees with and tell us in a week or so how his Excellent Adventure in Anbar has convinced him that the Petraeus plan is working. Pay no attention to the facts behind the curtain.
Why the sheiks turned remains a point of debate, but it seems clear that the tribes resented al-Qaeda's efforts to ban smoking and marry local women to build ties to the region. "Marrying women to strangers, let alone foreigners, is just not done," Australian Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, a Petraeus adviser, wrote in an essay.

The sheik who forged the alliance with the Americans, Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, traced the decision to fight al-Qaeda to Sept. 14, 2006, long before the new Bush strategy, but the president's plan dispatched another 4,000 U.S. troops to Anbar to exploit the situation. As security improved, the White House eagerly took credit.

And while Bush distracts us with shiny objects, the real evil lurks just under the radar.
When Rice told Crocker to get ready for talks with Iran, he asked her the "blindingly obvious" question of whether Vice President Cheney would allow it, a U.S. official said. Rice, according to the official, told Crocker that it "wasn't your lane," adding, "I'll work it back here. That's not your problem."

Got that? The chain of command stops at Cheney and he really wants to shoot Iran in the face. Meanwhile, the fancy dancing around the facts may have placated the political class inside the Beltway, but Americans aren't buying it. Not that it will make any difference. Not even if the NYT notices.
Withdrawing 4,000 troops and dangling the prospect of additional withdrawals is a token political gesture, not a new strategy. If it proves enough to cow Congress into halting its push for a more robust and concrete exit strategy, that would be political cowardice at its worst.

And now come the non-partisan experts who see a new corner just five years off in the distance. Seems to me, we've heard that before and the only adult in the room is being ignored by the recalcitrant children in charge.

It's all too much and too little. How many bloody corners do we have to turn before somebody comes up with the power point presentation that shows we're going around circles?

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