Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sisyphius in Iraq:

The propaganda coming from the White House this week is that W.'s whirlwind of visits with various experts, generals and State Department officials -- experts from within the administration, decidedly not of the surrendering simian variety --are designed to help him come up with a "new way forward" for his disaster in Iraq. The result of all these visits was supposedly going to culminate in a major speech on the New Way Forward shortly before Christmas. It turns out, though, that there will be no New Way Forward until January, at least. The NYT reports that W. is going to "delay presenting any new strategy until early next year."

Jim Rutenberg and David Sanger write the reason for the delay is: "Mr. Bush had concluded that the decisions about troops, political pressure and diplomacy were too complicated to rush in order to lay out a plan before Christmas." He was ready to chew through iron to get at Saddam's phony WMD. He was even willing to go as far as to suggest to Tony B-liar that they should paint a U-2 spy plane UN blue and get Saddam to shoot it down to in order to create a causus belli. That's how hell bent he was on getting us into a war. Now, when it comes to getting us out of the war, he's got to study some stuff first. It might take a while.

And whilst we await W.'s descent from Mount Sinai with the tablets, dozens more US troops will continue to die every week along with many hundreds more Iraqi civilians. W. has been repeating his new mantra, "I take your comments very seriously," to everyone he talks to, yet I see very little evidence of any sense of urgency on his part to do anything. And there’s reason for that; he doesn't intend to do anything.

Weston Kosova reports in the current NEWSWEEK that Josh Bolton has for the past few months been "girding" W. for the release of the ISG report by making him sit down and listen to opponents of his Iraq policy. While W. has been saying his victory strategy was working and the Democrats were all for cutting and running, Bolton has been planning for the worst and positioning W. to look like he cared all of a sudden. Kosova writes "The challenge for Bush's team was to make the president appear as though he was taking the release of the report seriously, without necessarily embracing its conclusions."

W. might not be too interested in admitting that he really fubar'd the whole thing up, but the people in the administration who actually pull the strings are locked in mortal combat over the New Way Forward. It's really difficult to know exactly what's going on, there are so many contradictory reports and leaks coming out of the administration, but Condi and Cheney seem to be the main combatants. (God help us!)

Due to my not having access to the inner sanctum of the Oval Office, my initial impression was the Cheney's plan was to co-opt "moderate" Sunni leaders into going along with supporting al-Maliki in order to cut Muqtada al-Sadr out of the picture. According Sanger and Rutenberg, though, that's actually Condi's plan. Cheney's plan involves picking sides and supporting the Shiites. I don't know which plan is dumber. I'm thinking, though, that Cheney's plan has best possibility of creating an even worse disaster than Condi's.

The fact that W. is even giving Condi and Cheney the time of day just proves he has no intention of radically changing course, which is what is needed immediately. If there were any illusions about W.'s sincerity in cleaning up the mess he made, they should all be dispelled by his visit with Rummy today. If you're really, really interested in fixing a problem, why would you go to get advice from the very person who created it?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no way this bunch currently in office has a chance in hell of fixing Iraq. It took them three years to create the seething cauldron of religious and ethnic hate that's on the verge of boiling over into the rest of the Middle East. What makes anyone think W. and Cheney have either the ability, or the willingness to change at this late date? There isn't even any firm evidence that they actually think they've done anything wrong. If it hadn't been for the GOP's defeat in the elections, we'd still be hearing about "cut and run" Democrats and the "victory strategy."

As long as this group of neocons and true believers are at the controls, preventing Iraq from descending even further into the abyss is going to be a Sisyphian task. There are no good solutions to what's facing us in Iraq but one thing we can all count on is that W. & Co. will pick the wrong road every time.


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