Thursday, September 16, 2004

Progress is Our Most Important Product

The message of the day is that it's going to hell in a handbasket in Iraq. Need evidence? Consider this:

from Sidney Blumenthal:

Far Graver Than Viet Nam

Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

from Associated Press:

Group Offers Bush Bleak Iraq Assessment

The National Intelligence Council presented President Bush (news - web sites) this summer with three pessimistic scenarios regarding the security situation in Iraq (news - web sites), including the possibility of a civil war there before the end of 2005.

In a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, the council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the wartorn country and determined that — at best — a tenuous stability was possible, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Need more? Well, even the Republicans are starting to go off the reservation, at least some of the ones who still have principles, like Chuck Hagel & Richard Lugar.

From The NYTimes, via The Indianapolis Star:

Senators sound alarm over Iraq

Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Wednesday that the Bush administration's request to divert more than $3 billion from reconstruction work in Iraq to security measures was a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble.

The criticism came as the existence of a highly classified -- and pessimistic -- National Intelligence Estimate about the future security and stability of Iraq was revealed

.And now Kofi Annan has finally come out of hiding, although not without some petty criticisms:

Iraq war allies rebuff UN Chief

Key states who joined the US-led invasion of Iraq have rejected claims by the United Nations secretary general that the war was illegal.

Kofi Annan told the BBC the decision to take action in Iraq contravened the UN charter and should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally

.So where do we go from here? Well, we could try and find bin Laden again...oh, wait, we're really not trying very hard says The NYTimes:

C.I.A. Unit on bin Laden Is Understaffed, a Senior Official Tells Lawmakers

Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks, despite repeated pleas from the unit's leaders for reinforcements, a senior C.I.A. officer with extensive counterterrorism experience has told Congress.
And finally, here's the lovely and talented Paul Krugman:

Taking On The Myth

On Sunday, a celebrating crowd gathered around a burning U.S. armored vehicle. Then a helicopter opened fire; a child and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel were among those killed. Later, the channel repeatedly showed the journalist doubling over and screaming, "I'm dying; I'm dying."

Such scenes, which enlarge the ranks of our enemies by making America look both weak and brutal, are inevitable in the guerrilla war President Bush got us into. Osama bin Laden must be smiling.

U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, "It's worse than you think." Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call "insurgent enclaves," are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground.

Swell. I just can't say more.

Yes I can.

Norman Podhoretz says:

World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win

Now "our entire security as a nation"—including, to a greater extent than in 1947, our physical security—once more depends on whether we are ready and willing to accept and act upon the responsibilities of moral and political leadership that history has yet again so squarely placed upon our shoulders. Are we ready? Are we willing? I think we are, but the jury is still out, and will not return a final verdict until well after the election of 2004.
Cute. We seem to have some disagreements here. One one hand, we have people who actually know what's going on in Iraq. On the other hand, we have people who are blinded by the light of their neo-con fantasies. I don't know, for now, I think I'll stick with, you know, actual generals and such.