Americans are frightened by the growing chaos in the Mideast, and the last thing they needed to hear this week was Mr. Rumsfeld laying blame for sectarian violence on a few Al Qaeda schemers. What they want is some assurance that the administration has a firm grasp on reality and has sensible, achievable goals that could lead to an end to the American involvement in Iraq with as little long-term damage as possible. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld offered the same old exhortation to stay the course, without the slightest hint of what the course is, other than the rather obvious point that the Iraqis have to learn to run their own country.This is only to be expected. Rumsfield was hanging around the White House since the Nixon era. He's either an expert or a dinosaur, depending on your ideology. The far-right is stuck in '50s ideology, so they love him. Progressives, on the other hand, want him to go away (or worse places). I think he'd be best used as the grandfather character in some sitcom on Fox. He definitely shouldn't be in his current position.
By contrast, the generals flanking him were pillars of candor and practicality. Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. commander in the Middle East, said “Iraq could move toward civil war” if the sectarian violence — which he said “is probably as bad as I’ve seen it” — is not contained. The generals tried to be optimistic about the state of the Iraqi security forces, but it was hard. They had to acknowledge that a militia controls Basra, that powerful Iraqi government officials run armed bands that the Pentagon considers terrorist organizations financed by Iran, and that about a third of the Iraqi police force can’t be trusted to fight on the right side.
Friday, August 04, 2006
The Sound of One Domino Falling - New York Times:
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