Recently in Iraq Category
During Obama's discussion with the Sunni Vice President, and Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, they did not discuss Obama's plans for withdrawal. However, after their meetings in press conferences, both of the Iraqi leaders said in unequivocal terms, we want the U.S. troops out by the end of 2010. Which happens to be, 16 months after our next president takes office, and when Barack Obama said we needed to be out of Iraq.
Okay, all those who don't believe Bush's Iraq decisions have been dimwitted, visit a GOP loyalist site, this one won't make you happy. Everyone else should be asking if Pres. Bush is immoral to build up 20,000 more troops in Iraq, sacrificing even more American limbs and lives? For what? For the sake of his belief that one day he will be vindicated in invading Iraq? That appears to be what's coming.
The Congressionally commissioned Iraq study group headed by Baker (R) and Hamilton (D), produced nothing new. They confirm that Iraq is out of control; we have insufficient resources to get it under control on our own; and given that our presence is exacerbating the widening war in Iraq in some ways, they advise we should look to withdraw most of our forces by 2008.
Here is the quagmire in a nutshell. The best outcome America can hope for now, and the vital goals the President cannot, and will not, yield on are; preventing the Iraqi Government from dissolving, and preventing Iraqi oil revenues from being funneled or, otherwise falling, into terrorist group hands. These are interdependent goals. If either fails, the other follows.
The U.S. supported and designed Iraqi Court system has just sentenced Saddam Hussein to death by hanging. He has 10 days to appeal. If his appeal fails, his sentence is to be carried out within 30 days hence. At least one other, Hussein's half brother, who signed the order for the deaths of over 140 villagers from a place where an assassination attempt was hatched aimed at Iraq's leader. Others standing trial were handed lesser sentences, and more are still coming forth.
Those are the facts at the time of this writing. What do they mean? Proponents of the court and trials, will hail this as a victory for the Iraqi people and its new government. Critics will cite this event as an extension of U.S. occupation in Iraq, and contrary to the best interests of the Iraqi people and stability in Iraq, fueling sectarian hostilities.
The Baker/Hamilton Commission will be providing a report on the options available to the administration regarding Iraq after the midterm elections. Of the options, victory is not one of them in the foreseeable future. Neither is stay the course. The report will outline at least two major options, draw down and redeploy, or, stability first in Baghdad.
Sen. John Warner (R) held a press conference Thursday, Oct. 5, on Iraq, having just returned from there. The Sen. was full of contradictions reflecting the situation in Iraq and the absence of a strategy by the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans.
Sen. Warner is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a key member of the Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The following article presents information offered to the House Government Reform Committee on National Security just a few days ago, as aired on C-Span and recalled by this writer. The Panel of witnesses were expert in the study of Iraq and its people with decades of experience focusing on Iraq. (See end of article for participants.)
Rep. Christopher Shays (R) who chaired these hearings asked Thomas Friedman's question on Washington Journal, "Are we baby-sitting a civil war in Iraq?" (Link note: click on title: Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), National Security Subcmte. Chair). It is a most pertinent question in light of the hearing discussed below.
The NY Times reports July was the bloodiest yet for Iraqi civilians, with the body count at 3,438. That is a 9% increase over the previous month. And in another story the NYT reports Bush expressed frustration Monday "that the new Iraqi government - and the Iraqi people - had not shown greater public support for the American mission...". If one has any heart at all, President Bush's self made Catch-22, called the Iraq occupation, must elicit a large dose of empathy if not sympathy.
Droves of politicians from the Right and Left are distancing themselves, as best they can, from having had anything to do with the decision to invade Iraq as election day approaches. Conservative politicians are doing a real Texas 3 step away from the President in hopes of salvaging their political careers. When I take a moment to consider how I would feel if I were in President Bush's shoes this week, it makes me immensely sad. Simultaneously however, the thought comes to mind PDQ that I would never, in his shoes, have made that decision to invade Iraq. War is one of the gravest decisions any people can ever commit themselves to.