31 December 2006

Does this mean we win?

Saddam’s dead. Let the healing begin.

Within hours of the execution, at least 75 people
were killed in nine bombing attacks of the kind
that Sunni insurgents commonly carry out
against Shiites. In the mainly Shiite districts of
Hurriyah and Sayidah in Baghdad, separate
sequences in which car bombs detonated in
close succession caused at least 39 deaths. Two
other car bombings hit Baghdad before nightfall,
one outside a children’s hospital in the Iskan
neighborhood, and another that killed two
people outside a mosque in the mainly Sunni
district of Adhamiya, the Interior Ministry said.

Another vehicle bomb detonated in a popular fish
market in the Shiite holy town of Kufa, 100
miles south of Baghdad, killing 34 people and
wounding 38 others, the ministry said. In the
Kufa attack, an angry mob set on the suspected
bomber and beat him to death, the police said.
Five more victims died in a suicide bombing in
the northern city of Tal Afar, another center of
violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

The United States military command announced
six more combat deaths, bringing the number of
American troops killed in December to 109, the
deadliest month for American deaths since
November 2004, according to Reuters.

The road to martyrdom ain’t a pretty sight. While I’m
certainly not sad to see this asshole gone, I can’t help
thinking that once again the US has handed its enemies a
powerful weapon while compromising our own democratic
ideals in order to sweep some inconvenient truths under
the rug. Not to mention the fact that this grim affair was
carried out with all the dignity and professionalism of an
amateur bank heist.

Josh Marshall cuts through the crap.

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has
been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and
dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur --
phony victory celebrations, ersatz
democratization, reconstruction headed up by
toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no
different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for
once, that these folks can actually see through to
completion. So this execution, ironically and
pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures,
incompetence and general betrayal of country on
every other front that President Bush has
brought us.

Try to dress this up as an Iraqi trial and it
doesn't come close to cutting it -- the Iraqis only
take possession of him for the final act, sort of
like the Church always left execution itself to the
'secular arm'. Try pretending it's a war crimes
trial but it's just more of the pretend
mumbojumbo that makes this out to be World
War IX or whatever number it is they're up to

The Iraq War has been many things, but for its
prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-
dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its
ideological and literary trappings have always
been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for
a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough
to live up to their own self-regard and whose
imaginations are great enough to make up the
difference. This is just more play-acting.

17 December 2006

Send In The Clowns

The Wise Men of Washington call for more troops.

[McCain] said conditions in some areas of Iraq
have improved since his last visit in March, but
"I believe there is still a compelling reason to
have an increase in troops here in Baghdad and
in Anbar province in order to bring the sectarian
violence under control" and to "allow the
political process to proceed."

Two other senators in the delegation, Joseph
Lieberman, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,
said they agreed.

"We need more, not less, U.S. troops here,"
Lieberman said.

After nearly four years and 3,000 dead American soldiers,
President Bush is ready to hear suggestions about how to
deal with Iraq.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said
Thursday that Bush will seek more information
from a variety of sources, including members of
the Iraqi government, Pentagon and the National
Security Council, which is coordinating the
administration's review of its war policy.

The result could make or break the United States'
push for democracy in Iraq, according to those
who have participated in the review.

"We've basically got about one more chance to
get this right," said Stephen Biddle, a senior
fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations who
attended a White House meeting with Bush on

Said Snow: "The endpoint of what's going on
right now is not a speech, it's policy. It is a way
forward where the president will be instructing
those involved to do things differently than they
are doing now."

Keep in mind, this is all happening after firing “the finest
Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.”

Meanwhile, the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group Report
spells out quite clearly that the only hope for any sort of
success in the region rests upon diplomacy, not military
strength. Joe Conason offered a helpful reminder in his
latest column.

What deserved far greater attention, however,
was the most important of the Baker-Hamilton
committee's conclusions: namely, that there is
no military solution to the American dilemma in
Iraq, and that the only way out is negotiation. In
the study group's report, most references to this
reality appear under the euphemistic category
known as "national reconciliation."

The section of recommendations for security and
military forces, for example, begins with a clear
admonition: "There is no action the American
military can take that, by itself, can bring about
success in Iraq." Which is obvious enough,
except to a few politicians and commentators
urging an impossible escalation of tens of
thousands of additional troops. Then the same
section goes on to urge the Iraqi government --
as the report repeatedly does throughout its 100
pages -- to "accelerate the urgently needed
national reconciliation program to which it has
already committed." In other words, any
changes in military policy are ancillary to
negotiations among the warring factions (and
their foreign sponsors). Actually, the report is
quite explicit in demanding that the authorities in
Baghdad and Washington sit down with their
armed opponents to talk about every relevant
issue -- including the date for the withdrawal of
American troops.

But that’s not going to happen. And most Americans, like
Atrios, understand why.

I know I'm just a dirty fucking hippie with the
stupidest blog on the internets, but I've known
for a long time that Iraq is not going to magically
get better and that George Bush isn't going to
leave because he equates leaving with losing.
One of the biggest disappointments with our
broader political class is due to the failure of
them to understand this rather obvious point.
George Bush is stubborn and incompetent,
wishes are not ponies, and hope is not a plan.