Alternate History: Iraq
Victor Davis Hanson: The insurgency in Iraq has no military capability either to drive the United States military from Iraq or to stop the American training of Iraqi police and security forces — or, for that matter, to derail the formation of a new government. The United States air base at Balad is one of the busiest airports in the world.... [T]he terrorists have an invaluable ally in the global media, whose “if it bleeds, it leads” brand of journalism always favors the severed head in the street over the completion of yet another Iraqi school.... During this sort of waiting game in Iraq, the American military silently is training tens of thousands of Iraqis to do the daily patrols, protect construction projects, and assure the public that security is on the way, while an elected government reminds the people that they are at last in charge....
Who will win? The Americans I talked to this week in Iraq — in Baghdad, Balad, Kirkuk, and Taji — believe that a government will emerge that is seen as legitimate and will appear as authentic to the people. Soon, ten divisions of Iraqi soldiers... over 100,000 police... crush the insurgency... a public tired of violence and assured that the future of Iraq is their own.... [T]he American presence in Iraq will... lessen considerably in 2006... reaching Korea-like levels and responsibilities in 2007...
Meanwhile, out in the non-alternate reality of the real Baghdad, Zayed the Dentist keeps his head down and phones to try to get the word out:
Healing Iraq : Fierce streetfighting at my doorstep for the last 3 hours. Rumor in the neighbourhood is that men in black are trying to enter the area. Some armed kids defending the local mosque three blocks away are splattering bullets.... [T]he attackers were fended off in our neighbourhood.... In Adhamiya, armed groups in black crossed the river in boats from neighbouring Kadhimiya and took over the Nu'man hospital. In Khadhraa', a combined force of Interior ministry forces and men dressed in black are surrounding 2 mosques with several families inside, threatening to burn them down on the occupants.... An armed group in 10 vehicles with no number plates entered the Al-Iskan Al-Sha'bi district in Dora... but was turned back by the residents. Eyewitnesses claim that as many as 40 bodies and 5 burnt vehicles.... Another group dressed in black in one Daewoo and two Opel vehicles passed the Interior ministry forces' checkpoint at Abu Dshir square... entered the Yassin mosque with explosives in tin containers. The keeper was killed and the mosque blown up. A Shi'ite armed group carried Sheikh Ghazi Al-Zoba'i in a pickup truck around Sadr city, shouting that they have a Wahhabi terrorist with them, before he was lynched on the streets by the angry mob.
Government officials and spokespersons are deliberately suppressing any news of these ongoing attacks on Sunni neighbourhoods and mosques. The official Al-Iraqiya channel is playing a historical movie, while other channels are playing Shi'ite mourning and Quran. The Interior ministry says it only has reports of 19 mosques attacked and one cleric killed. Go figure.
The FBI phones in from Guantanamo Bay, complaining
E-Mails Show FBI Agents Fretted About Prisoner Abuse - Los Angeles Times : that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's public pronouncements about interrogation policies were misleading. "I know these techniques were approved at high levels within DoD and used" on specific prisoners, said the official, referring to the Department of Defense. The names of the author and recipients of the e-mail were blanked out... no information was provided to indicate how the author knew the techniques were authorized at top levels.... Guantanamo's prison commander, Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, was described as favoring aggressive methods "despite FBI assertions that such methods could easily result in the elicitation of unreliable and legally inadmissible information."... A Pentagon spokesman described the ACLU documents as "old information," and said that 12 investigations and reviews had found there was no Defense Department policy that encouraged or condoned abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The FBI memos had been previously released to the ACLU in December 2004, but with most of their contents censored...
William F. Buckley calls upon George W. Bush to acknowledge defeat in Iraq:
William F. Buckley Jr.: [T]he American objective in Iraq has failed.... Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans.... The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.... President Bush... postulate[d], from the beginning... that the Iraqi people... would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom... the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.
This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure.... Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements.... [D]ifferent plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.
And John Podhoretz calls for the Bush administration to deal with the situation by mobilizing--Karl Rove:
The Corner on National Review Online : PAGING KARL ROVE--EMERGENCY!... Democrats in Congress are outpolling President Bush on national security. By a margin of 43 to 41 percent, Americans say they trust Congressional Democrats more than Bush when it comes to protecting our national security.... [T]he political consequences could be catastrophic.
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Porter Goss, Andrew Card too.