WASHINGTON (AP) - One senator said U.S. troops are routing out al-Qaida in parts of Iraq. Another insisted President Bush's plan to increase troops has caused tactical momentum.
One even went so far on Wednesday as to say the argument could be made that U.S. troops are winning.
These are not Bush-backing GOP die-hards, but Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, Bob Casey and Jack Reed. Even Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said progress was being made by soldiers.
The suggestions by them and other Democrats in recent days that at least a portion of Bush's strategy in Iraq is working is somewhat surprising, considering the bitter exchanges on Capitol Hill between the Democratic majority and Republicans and Bush. Democrats have long said Bush's policies have been nothing more than a complete failure.
Four and a half years of this bullshit, and this AP writer still cannot distill the meaning of the quotes right in front of her. "Tactical Success" which the United States has enjoyed in every battle of any size since the Chinese crossed the Yangtze is different that strategic success, which has long since sailed into the night. Now the battle is to have the least bad strategic loss.
While we're talking about "tactical" success, let's talk about the effect of Southern Iraq going to shit as Shiia fight Shiia, while we are in the north arming the Sunni's to be armed to the teeth too. Our strategic policy seems to be proclaiming we beat a self-proclaimed Al Qaeda subsidiary, all while throwing weapons (literally) to the Iraqi masses while complaining about the occasional Iranian arm. What could possibly go wrong?
The US military took advantage of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's absence from the country to settle some scores with the Mahdi Army in Sadr City (East Baghad), attacking units there and mounting air strikes on them, killing 32 and wounding about a dozen. Local observers claimed that the attacks killed 9 innocent civilians, but the US military said the casualties were militiamen. When al-Maliki is in Baghdad, he tends to run interference for the Sadr Movement, which elected him to office, and to attempt to convince the US military to put off attacking these Shiite forces until after the Sunni Arab guerrillas are dealt with decisively.
Not only did the US military attack these Shiite forces unilaterally, but its spokesmen attempted to link the Mahdi Army cell attacked to the importation of explosively formed projectiles from Iran.
It cannot be an accident that both the attack and the attempt to implicate Iran (with no evidence for the allegations against Tehran provided) came while al-Maliki was in Tehran for high level consultations with the Iranian government.
In other words, the US military is playing a dangerous political game of attempting to undermine al-Maliki's diplomacy with Iran and to alienate the Sadr Movement from him altogether (it has already suspended membership in his government). For more on the timing of (surely overstated) US military announcements implicating Iran so as to undermine talks with Tehran by US and Iraqi diplomats, see Bill Beeman's comments below. This is not the proper role for generals, and it is shocking that Amassador Ryan Crocker and Secretary of State Condi Rice allow it to go on.
In Tehran, al-Maliki was attempting to get Iranian security cooperation and also a pledge of help with providing fuel and electricity to East Baghdad. Al-Maliki is caught between his two patrons, Iran and the US, and needs the support of both to survive politically.
A bevy of fuckin' geniuses our Administration is.