Monday, June 4, 2007

Iraq Rollup - The Good, The Bad, The Questionable, The Bull

The NYT is reporting that, in terms of pacification of Baghdad neighborhoods, the surge is "behind schedule" - though it is not clear from the article precisely what the counterinsurgency plan projected by this date. The NYT quotes ancedotal evidence that places blame for the slower then expected progress on Iraqi forces that have, at least in some units, been performing poorly and/or been infiltrated by insurgents working against the surge. The NYT does not address other recent information from the surge that shows very signficant strides in decreasing sectarian violence overall and in attritting some 20,000 enemy forces in just the past few months.

An Al Qaeda in Iraq affiliate has released a video purporting to show the actual abduction of the three soldiers from the Tenth Mountain Division two weeks ago. They do not display the soldiers, but do show i.d. cards that appear authentic. They also claim on a website to have executed all three soldiers.

Bill Rogio and the WP are reporting on the latest Iranian mischief - supplying rockets to splinter groups of the Mahdi Army - as well as increased operational tempo targeting Mahdi Army leadership, likely aimed at limiting any attempt by the recently returned Sadr to reunify his forces and / or to reestablish his own authority. Rogio is also reporting on some important successes over the past days targeting al Qaeda throughout the country, including a notable success in Fallujah.

The NYT has an utterly inane op-ed claiming that Sadr, recently returned from hiding in Iran, is "An Enemy We Can Work With." The op-ed grossly overstates Sadr's power at this point, ignores his role as one of the primary engines of sectarian violence over the past two years, and ignores the fact that Sadr's goals for Iraq are very much at odds with the unified democracy that the U.S. has been spilling its blood for the past four years to establish. Urging the U.S. either to slow the operational tempo of attacks on Mahdi Army splinter groups or to otherwise engage Sadr diplomatically seem dangerously sophmoric.

The Democratic candidates for President continue their bidding war to see who can declare defeat in Iraq the quickest and loudest. At one point during their debate, Hillary Clinton referred to Iraq as "Bush's war," a phrase that seems to encapsulate the refusal of the left to address the ramifications of retreat from Iraq to anything beyond the 2008 elections.

The WP is raising the question of allowing illegal immigrants to join the U.S. military with a promise of citizenship at the end of service. This is not a bad idea. There are certainly historical antecedents, such as the ancient Roman military who used a similar method of recruitment in its provinces. The overriding issue has to be a vetting process to insure the loyalty of such recruits to the U.S. We have been burned badly on this before. For example, bin Laden's chief of security in the 90's and one of the al Qaeda's major operational assets was an ex-Green Beret Sgt. born in Egypt, Ali Mohammed.

The WP runs an utterly ridiculous piece on a U.S. interragator who claims to have tortured people by making them cold or having them listen to tapes all night long. It just so happens that this interragator, who now claims to be having attacks of conscience, is also a week shy of having a book released for publication. I invite everyone on all sides of the torture debate to compare the methods described in the WP article as torture with those that al Qaeda recommends in its own publications, and then decide for yourself whether this hand wringing is more then a bit idiotic.

No comments:


View My Stats