Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iraq: 4 more years?

AP reports:

"The U.S. Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday, a later date than Bush administration or Pentagon officials have mentioned thus far."

Wow, that's quite a surprise. Maybe, someone ought to tell the good general that you don't come out and say things like that when your commander-in-chief is trying to make sure he keeps his party's majority in Congress. (This might all be acedemic anyway if we go to war with one of the other axis of evil countries W. has his sights on.)

Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker says, "this is not a prediction that things are going poorly. . . It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot."

I hope this is only a rhetorical magazine he's talking about because, apparently, either Sunni insurgents or Mahdi Army types blew up a US ammo dump in Baghdad last night, which set off a "barrage of explosions that continued to shake the capital on Wednesday morning, according to AP.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting the distinct impression this new "Battle of Baghdad," is going to turn out to be a lot more like Fallujah II, rather than Paris 1944. The Independant reported last week that US casualties are soaring. Last month "776 soldiers were wounded in action in Iraq." And this month alone we've lost 44 US troops killed in action. How long before the US starts resorting to "shake and bake" tactics, is my question.

If we do, the US military ought to pay attention to new Iraqi death squad web sites that are listing the names of people who they want killed. NEWSWEEK reported this week that one web site offers helpful hints to Mahdi Army types on how to avoid getting captured or killed by US troops: "Don't wear black," one advises the blackclad jihadis. "Other tips: 'Hide your weapons,' don't stand in groups, and 'never admit you're a member of the militia.'" So, why are these guys giving us so much trouble again?

But, not to worry, there's signs of political progress in Iraq. The BBC reports:

"The Iraqi parliament has approved a law allowing provinces to merge into regions which would enjoy a measure of autonomy. The vote went through unanimously, but only 138 of the chamber's 275 members were present. Absentees included the two biggest Sunni blocs and two of the factions that make up the big Shia alliance."

Maybe that's the only way to get anything done in the Iraqi government, make sure half of them aren't there. In any case, it looks like some of the Iraqis are taking Joe Biden's ideas for a partition to heart.

Next crisis up is Kurdistan. . .

Read more of this stuff at my foreign policy blog "let's talk about democracy," where I'll be expandnig on all of this tomorrow.


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