Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba has said the pullout of American forces would “lead to disaster. There would be a bloodbath.” (As if there isn’t one going on already.) PM Ibrahim al Jaafari has said “when we reach the ability to depend on ourselves for security, then the Americans can leave.” The U.S. and British officials have pooh-poohed the revelation of a memo outlining a timeline for withdrawal before the end of the year. We won’t stand down until the Iraqis can stand up.
Now, comes news deputy secretary of State Robert Zoellick paid a “surprise” visit to the Green Zone and out of this visit apparently has come a plan for U.S. forces to withdraw from “selected” cities very soon. "We can begin with the process of withdrawing multinational forces from these cities to outside the city as a first step that encourages setting a timetable for the withdrawal process," he said. Hmmm…sounds like the part of the secret memo that says, "Emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006." Looks like Zoellick read the Iraqis the riot act. We’re going to declare victory and pull out the majority of the troops, but leave a garrison contingent to watch over the oil, while turning a blind eye to the Iraqis dealing with their Sunni problem. (With our money and equipment.)
That little systematic torture problem is being worked on. The New York Times quotes one senior American officer as saying they have urged the Iraqis to clean up their act, “But in the end, this is an Iraqi war, and the Iraqis will fight it in their own way." I would say they’re ready to defend themselves. They’ve got the random round up, electro shock, outrageously pointless torture thing down cold. One of the various security forces that roam around the country killing Sunnis yanked 10 of them out of a hospital last week and locked them in a van for four hours in temperatures of over 100 degrees where they eventually suffocated. Rest assured, they were terrorists.
Note: Iran has now denied they are going to provide training for Iraqi troops but will donate $1 million to the Iraqi Defense Ministry. No strings attached, I’m sure. They’re ready; let’s get out!
"Between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1,594 civilians were killed, according to the Ministry of Health. Civilians often bear the brunt of car bombings and suicide attacks.
By contrast, 895 security forces — 275 Iraqi soldiers and 620 police — were killed in bombings, assassinations or armed clashes with insurgents, according to figures from the interior and defense ministries.
The number of insurgents killed during that six-month period was 781, the government said.
According to an AP count, more than 1,600 people have been killed in violence since April 28, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-led government in a country trying to crush an insurgency whose foundation is made up of Sunnis."
Also, the WaPo writes that "11 Sunni Muslim men were found dead hours after being arrested by Iraqi police, according to the head of the government agency that administers Sunni religious affairs." And very tragically yesterday more than a dozen children were killed in a suicide attack on U.S. troops handing out candy. This is just a horrble mess we're in and one can only hope those responsible for getting us into this will be held accountable at some point or another. But, as president Bush once famously said, things aren't "black and white" in accounting.
(The problem with never being able to tell the truth.)
The White House is still stonewalling on the Plame investigation and Scott McClellan continues to take a beating from the press who are now all worked up about being lied to. Not that they ever were before. I heard Dana Milbank saying that this time Scott had really told a “whopper” and this is why the press corps. is so exercised. Lying about the reasons to start a war apparently doesn’t get the blood flowing like a good old fashioned inside the beltway scandal.
Rove’s lawyer says poor Karl is “in a no-win position. If he doesn't talk he subjects himself to criticisms like we're hearing from the Democrats on why he won't come forward and talk about his role. But if he does . . . he runs the risk of being accused of not cooperating with the investigation." That sounds just like the line of defense Jack Abramoff’s lawyer is using, doesn’t it? I’m sure Karl would love to come out and explain to the American people how he told Matt Cooper that Joseph Wilson’s wife was at the CIA, but didn’t tell him her name. He would probably even want to talk about what he meant by saying Wilson’s wife “was fair game.” But, gosh, he just can’t. You’d think the president at least would like to say something other than “stay the course.”
I theorized that the London bombers must have had something to do with the Iraqi contingent of al-Qaeda, but now it appears they were home grown and at least two of them might have been in Pakistan training camps at one point. Their motives remain unknown. There's so much propaganda swirling around this story right now, I think I'll just leave it alone until things shake about a little more.
Cross dressing doesn't cross the line?
From another WaPo article, on the other war we're in...
"Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee."
Investigators said the technics were "creative" and "aggressive" but "did not cross the line into torture."
What's really creative is all the spin coming out of the pentagon on this issue. I mean, they're in a tropical paradise. They get food! They're getting hot action from female interagators...What eles do you want?