Thursday, September 16

The good news keeps raining down

This will suprise noone who has been paying attention, but the conclusions of a National Security Estimate, do not bode well for the future in Iraq. Not sure how this one slipped out of the barn, but here we go.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A highly classified National Intelligence Estimate assembled by some of the government's most senior analysts this summer provided a pessimistic assessment about the future security and stability of Iraq.

The National Intelligence Council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the war-torn country and determined -- at best -- the situation would be tenuous in terms of stability, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At worst, the official said, were "trend lines that would point to a civil war." The official said it "would be fair" to call the document "pessimistic."

I might add that it would be fair to call the document assessments accurate. There are wide swaths of the country that we avoid like the plague, mainly in an attempt to keep casualties down as Bush micromanages the war to have the least amount of negative impacton his bid for election.

The latest assessment was undertaken by the National Intelligence Council, a group of senior intelligence officials who provide long-term strategic thinking for the entire U.S. intelligence community but report to the director of central intelligence, now acting CIA Director John McLaughlin. He and the leaders of the other intelligence agencies approved it.

The estimate contrasts with public comments of Bush and his senior aides who speak more optimistically about the prospects for a peaceful and free Iraq. "We're making progress on the ground," Bush said at his Texas ranch late last month.

Reality contrasts regularly with the horse shit that leaps out of Bush's mouth. For instance, "progress on the ground". We sure had a lot of progress on the ground last month when we suffered the highest rate of casualties since the war started. Or how about this month, barely half way through and on pace to become the second most deadly month for Americans, since the war began.

But Hagel said the shift in funds "does not add up in my opinion to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this: an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

Hagel, Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, and other committee members have long argued -- even before the war -- that administration plans for rebuilding Iraq were inadequate and based on overly optimistic assumptions that Americans would be greeted as liberators. (Biden questions fitness of Iraqi security force)

But the criticism from the panel's top Republicans had an extra sting coming less than seven weeks before the presidential election in which President Bush's handling of the war is a top issue.

"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration -- what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd,' that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," Lugar said. "The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."

He said the need to shift the reconstruction funds was clear in July, but the administration was slow to make the request.

"This is an extraordinary, ineffective administrative procedure. It is exasperating from anybody looking at this from any vantage point," he said.

When Lugar and Hagel pile on, people really should start paying attention. These guys cannot be dismissed as "playing partisan politics" which really just amounts to projection, as that is all the administration is capable of doing. But it is nice that people at that level see the coming shitstorm for what it is. Meanwhile Sydney Blumenthal shares some more bad news from the Neocon Sandbox.
Far graver than Vietnam

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

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday September 16, 2004

The Guardian

'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."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

I am not sure that you could put it in graver terms. And this from guys who know what the hell they are talking about. I am sure that the administration, will keep these guys well out of the way of the president. His "stay the course " initiatives can't work in the real world, so he needs to be kept in fantasyland. In fact, now that I think about it, when he is done with politics he should open up his own version of Fantasy Island and play the role of Mr. Roarke, with Cheney as a bigger tatoo, pointing to "da plane" as it brings other members of the vanquished administration to the island to live out their fantasies of Global Hegemony.
General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."
Holy shit, when Generals start invoking Stalingrad as an example and we aren't the Soviet's.......And suggests that Iran and Al Qaida have gained more from our little adventure than we have, we are screwed. Thankfully for Bush though, the media will not touch any of this and continue to pretend that all is well. Unfortunately for the dauphin, the deaths and casualties are beginning to add up and each one of them impacts 5-20 people directly, these numbers are gonna add up to a lot of pissed off people. Meanwhile from the Hearts and minds department, our soldiers don't trust anyone on the ground. Sound familier: Land war's in Asia, and inability to distinguish friend from foe come to mind.

"My whole opinion of the people here has changed. There aren't any good people," said Friedrichsen, who says his first instinct now is to scan even youngsters' hands for weapons.

Subtle hostility extends to Iraqi adults, and evidence of betrayal among some of the country's officials is causing some American troops to have second thoughts.

"We're out here giving our lives for these people," said Sgt. Jesse Jordan, 25, of Grove Hill, Ala. "You'd think they'd show some gratitude. Instead, they don't seem to care."

Parralells to Vietnam have long since become appopriate. I feel so badly for these guys.
This attitude is perfectly understandable, but will only contribute to a vicious decending spiral. Friends we have failed miserably. Failed the Iraqi's, failed our men and women in theatre, and continuing this course will only deepen the tragedy. I can't blame these young men for their feelings.

In a place where American soldiers are at constant risk of surprise attack, ill will shortens fuses even further.

"We're not taking any chances: Shoot first and ask questions later," said Lance Cpl. David Goward, 26, a machine gunner from Cloquet, Minn. "We're a lot more dangerous now. I'm not going home in a body bag, and neither is the person next to me."

After a series of ambushes one April day that killed a dozen Marines, Cpl. Jason Rodgers saw a familiar face among a group of slain attackers. The dead Iraqi, who was lying inches from a grenade, was a shopkeeper Rodgers had called on several times during foot patrols, he said.

`I felt like I'd been betrayed'

"I felt like I'd been betrayed, personally," said Rodgers, 22, of Susanville, Calif. "I'd stood there, talking to him, shaking his hand, giving his kid candy. And he'd been studying our moves the whole time."

Unfortunately nothing will change for at least the next four and a half months, and one can only wonder what will transpire during that time, and will it be to late by then to turn this catastrpophe around?