Today, George W. Bush is in San Diego celebrating the “greatest generation” and conflating WW2 with the debacle in Iraq. And he talks about the insurgents in Iraq being desperate! Yesterday, he was busy trying to convince the same generation that his new Medicare drug benefit was all about choice. Of course, he didn’t mention the price tag or the corporate hand-outs to Pharma. Bush made his pitch at a trailer park for the 55’s and over in El Mirage, Ariz. Who ever planned the event in a place called “Mirage” should be fired.
Meanwhile, Rummy was busy rallying the 4th Infantry Division for another tour in Iraq. Josh White in the WaPo writes that 55 to 60% of the 4th ID has already been in Iraq, but Rummy is sending them back. Of course, all the bad news coming out of Iraq is just in the imaginations of the media and anti-war naysayers. “People who want to toss in the towel were wrong yesterday, they’re wrong today, and they’ll be wrong tomorrow.” Actually, funny he should bring up being wrong in the past. Wouldn’t that be you Rummy? Remember, that thing you said about knowing exactly where the WMD was? Or that stuff about Iraqis greeting US troops with rose pedals?
Democracy is hard work. It is hard, hard work. (Wanna buy some wood?)
One of the “Founding Fathers” of Iraq’s democracy, vice-president Ghazi al-Yawer, says he’ll vote against the constitution when it goes to a referendum in October. He believes, “the Iraq national identity is diminishing more and more, and this constitution is not helping that.” He thinks his fellow Sunnis are living under a “dictatorship of the majority.” Hannah Allam writes, though, “in a goodwill gesture yesterday, the electoral commission agreed to extend the deadline for voter registration to Sept. 7 for residents of Sunni dominated Anbar province.”
The problem with that is, they might need until Sept. 7 2050, to actually have any chance of voting. Tom Lassiter of the Philadelphia Inquirer was in Anbar province for the first three weeks of August and even though he was enbedded with a Marine unit and with an Army unit he was able to report that the insurgents have pretty much fought the US to a standstill in the province.
Lassiter writes, "Military officials offered three primary reasons that guerrilla fighters have held and gained ground: the enemy's growing sophistication, insufficient numbers of U.S. troops, and the lack of trained and reliable Iraqi security forces."
Interstingly, "Instead of referring to the enemy derisively as "terrorists" - as they used to - Marines and soldiers now give the insurgents a measure of respect by calling them "mujahideen."
The Iraqis that are supposedly fighting on our side, (Who get no respect.)in units called “Public Order Brigades,” are mainly Shiites from Baghdad and Bastra. To the citizens of Fallujah and Ramadi they are Shiite militias and foreign invaders. Marine Maj. Shaun Fitzpatrick says of these POBs, “we’ve had problems. There are inevitable cultural clashes.” That’s putting it mildly. This must be more of that media spin painting a negative picture of what’s really going on over there.
So, just because the police chief of Hit handed over all his police cars to the Marines because he said “we can’t protect these anymore,” and according to Maj. Plauche St. Romain, the head intelligence officer for the marine battalion that oversees Haditha, Haqlaniya, and Hit, handed back their “uniforms and armor, too” we should look on the bright side. This was, of course, before insurgents killed that particular police chief. No wonder we have to import Shiites up to Anbar!
The question is, if this constitution actually comes to a vote, and it’s a sure thing the Sunnis will try to kill it by voting against it overwhelmingly, will the Shiite troops in Anbar allow them to get to the polls? Or are we going to have to provide protection for Sunnis to vote?