Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So, Dubya really is running the war according to the counsel he gets from the generals. The ones that tell him what he wants to hear. The others have quit --- Abizaid recently retired, and according to this Times piece, General Casey, currently running things in Baghdad, will be rotating out early.

"What I want to hear from you is how we're going to win", said Bush in the Pentagon last month, "not how we're going to leave." Anyone who tries to tell him "victory" on his own terms is no longer possible --- whether Casey, who has been arguing for more than a year that high force levels are not the answer, or James Baker, at the head of the Iraq Study Group, which flatly rejected "victory" as a feasible outcome --- gets tuned out. Victory is "a word the American people understand", Dubya told Baker. "And if I start to change it, it will look like I'm beginning to change my policy."

Well, we can't have that.

One other interesting tidbit from the article: attempts to transfer security responsibility to the Iraqi army failed when Shiite units assigned to patrol Sunni neighborhoods took the opportunity to do a little ethnic cleansing. Which is less of a surprise when you realize that a lot those units are really the Iranian-trained Badr corps in new uniforms paid for by the American taxpayer. I don't have an better idea for where we go from here, though Gary Brecher has an answer that might be a good first step. (Search for "drunk driver", or perhaps "tranny fluid"). This is why some of us thought that the Friedmanesque grand strategy of invading Iraq to rebuild its society as a model for the rest of the Arab world was a dumb idea in the first place.


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