(*'Render' in this case is used as "extract the impurities from fat, blubber, etc., by melting.")
What I Saw in IraqWe've put a completely different shade of lipstick on this pig.
BY JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
I recently returned from Iraq and four other countries in the Middle East, my first trip to the region since December. In the intervening five months, almost everything about the American war effort in Baghdad has changed, with a new coalition military commander, Gen. David Petraeus; a new U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker; the introduction, at last, of new troops; and most important of all, a bold, new counterinsurgency strategy.
The question of course is--is it working? Here in Washington, advocates of retreat insist with absolute certainty that it is not, seizing upon every suicide bombing and American casualty as proof positive that the U.S. has failed in Iraq, and that it is time to get out.Ignore those mortars impacting the green zone and the record number of American deaths since the
The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.I'm so ignorant that even after my BFF Bush said there was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq, and the fact that AQ never existed in Iraq until the invasion, I can't help regurgitating the old Republican memes.
Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.Actually I don't have any colleagues, and if I did they didn't say anything like that, but I wouldn't be a loyal bushie if I said that America started and is fueling the civil war.
Facts on the ground also compel us to recognize that Iran is doing everything in its power to drive us out of Iraq, including providing substantive support, training and sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents who are murdering American soldiers. Iran has initiated a deadly military confrontation with us, from bases in Iran, which we ignore at our peril, and at the peril of our allies throughout the Middle East.Geez, I carry their water, I clean their toilets, I suck their d**ks ... why won't they let me in to the neoclown clubhouse?
One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.I met a guy who I couldn't understand so obviously when my translator said 'gathering fears', 'retaliation', 'I'm scared' I assumed he meant Iran.
A few months earlier, the Marine Corps chief of intelligence in Iraq had written off the entire province as "lost," while the Iraq Study Group described the situation there as "deteriorating."Just like Bush I refuse to listen to anyone who doesn't tell me what I want to hear. But unlike Bush, I can't fire them.
One of Ramadi's leading sheikhs told me: "A rifle pointed at an American soldier is a rifle pointed at an Iraqi."And I would give you his name but then he and his family would be killed.
In Baghdad, U.S. forces have cut in half the number of Iraqi deaths from sectarian violence since the surge began in February.La, la, la, I can't hear you. And I don't care that American deaths have gone up while the Iraqi government has refused to report on civilian deaths during that period.
On Haifa Street, for instance, where there was bloody fighting not so long ago, the 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade of our First Cavalry Division, under the command of a typically impressive American colonel, Bryan Roberts, has not only retaken the neighborhood from insurgents, but is working with the local population to revamp the electrical grid and sewer system, renovate schools and clinics, and create an "economic safe zone" where businesses can reopen.Woo, hoo! Americans captured a single street in Baghdad ... and while they don't actually have any electricity there they have a $hitload of sewage! Where do you think I get this crap!?
Our troops have succeeded in improving security conditions in precisely those parts of Iraq where the "surge" has focused.Even I have to put surge in quotes, and this is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
While benchmarks are critically important, American soldiers are not fighting in Iraq today only so that Iraqis can pass a law to share oil revenues. They are fighting [...] to achieve the national reconciliation that will enable them to pass the oil lawIt really is all about their oil.
The question now is, will we politicians in Washington rise to match their leadership, sacrifices and understanding of what is on the line for us in Iraq--or will we betray them, and along with them, America's future security?I will continue to betray my country. I will continue to betray my voters. I will continue to betray my party. And as my BFF GW sez "wtf are you going to do about it?"
(Cross posted at Vidiotspeak)