Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Some Real Truth About The War In Iraq

  Former Reagan Pentagon official Lawrence Korb spent ten days in Iraq and he says that the Bush version of improvement in Iraq is basically bull.

   Korb also happens to be a Center for American Progress senior fellow.

   Korb says what we already know, and that is that the surge isn't working.

Getting through Iraqi customs was a chore—it was like Moscow in the early 1990s. There were four lines: three for Iraqis and one for “others”. Like the majority of the passengers we went through the “others” line. It took at least an hour for me and my colleague to get through. The Blackwater and Halliburton people, however, went right around the line. One of the other less fortunate contractors remarked that it was not surprising since they are running the country.

The long wait did allow me to speak to some of the contractors about the situation on the ground. When I assured them I was not a member of the press, they were unanimous that the surge was not working. One of them said that members of Muqtada Al-Sadr’s militia have sold their guns and melted back into the population in Sadr City and will buy back their guns at the appropriate time (our own security guard said something similar).

....I had an interesting discussion with an Iraqi official who is close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He made several intriguing observations. First, in their video conferences, Maliki and Bush do not really communicate. The official also noted that in his discussions with visiting members of Congress there is really not much dialogue, with both sides giving canned presentations. Second, the U.S. military and State Department do not really work well together and General George Casey would complain to Iraqis about the former U.S. Ambassador to iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. Third, the insurgency got started when the Americans failed to take control after the overthrow and the Iraqis realized that the American military was not invincible—that is, its soldiers were human beings who displayed the full range of emotions, including fear. Fourth, do not believe anyone who tells you that the situation is getting better.

      So what about the reports from the White House ( Bush/Cheney ) which say that they are seeing improvement?

But if one uses the reports of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and pushes the briefers, a different picture emerges. The place is a mess and despite the almost heroic efforts of some Americans and some Iraqis it is not getting better. One of the consultants told me not to believe anyone who says that the situation is getting better.

While waiting to leave the Green Zone after our IRMO meeting, we visited the military exchange, or PX, and the “pharmacy” (liquor store—the Iraqis call it the Christian pharmacy). I was surprised and saddened that the servicemen and women pay the same prices for goods in Iraq as they do in the states.

The other thing that struck me was the lack of American soldiers patrolling the neighborhoods. In fact, in my whole time here I did not see one American soldier outside the Green Zone.   

On the back of this visit, I am more and more convinced that we must take control of our own destiny by setting a specific timetable for withdrawal. Currently, our fate is in the hands of an Iraqi government that does not have any real incentive to get its act together and does not even seem to understand the gravity of the situation or the declining level of support in the United States.

While I did not see as many soldiers as on my last visit, the ones I spoke to were clearly dispirited about the repeated deployments and the three-month extension.  Full Article

      If this is an accurate account, I would say that Bush, Cheney and the rest of the right-wing hawks have some explaining to do to the American public and to the Congress.