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Can you say "blowback"?

vastleft's picture

The Bush administration flips the bird to ol' George Santayana, gleefully forgetting how devilish each of our Middle Eastern deals with the devil has been (remember our Reagan-era buddies, the Mujahideen and Saddam Hussein?).

After diverting his eyes from the prize target called "Al-Qaeda," the Commander-in-Chief now has tunnel vision about that one threat among many in Iraq, as the great Charles Hanley reports:

BAGHDAD -- Inside the bloody kaleidoscope called Iraq, the list of enemies and allies is long. But one group alone gets routinely tagged "Public Enemy No. 1" by the Americans.

Nine out of 10 times, when it identifies a foe it faces, the U.S. military names Al Qaeda in Iraq. President Bush warns Iraq may become an Al Qaeda base to "launch new attacks on America."

"Such speculation is unrealistic," said Amer Hassan al-Fayadh, Baghdad University political science dean.

Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, strong Kurdish ethnic minority, secularist Sunni Muslims and others would suppress any real power bid by the fringe Sunni religious extremists of Al Qaeda, he said.

"The people who are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq are the Sunnis themselves," al-Fayadh added.

Wanna hear an ingenious plan to stabilize Iraq? We're teaming up with various insurgent forces to take on Al-Qaeda. That's just gotta work, it's just gotta.

The American soldiers in Amiriyah have allied themselves with dozens of Sunni militiamen who call themselves the Baghdad Patriots -- a group that American soldiers believe includes insurgents who have attacked them in the past -- in an attempt to drive out al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Americans have granted these gunmen the power of arrest, allowed the Iraqi army to supply them with ammunition, and fought alongside them in chaotic street battles.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hanley came frightfully close to yesterday's bombing that took out a major highway in Iraq, approaching the bridge just behind the convoy that was the apparent target of the attack — reaching the scene within moments with an AP photographer, who took pictures of the devastation.

As a measure of the chaos that is America's occupation of Iraq, consider the following incidental description:

Iraqi police said the overpass was a vital link across the highway for villagers in the area because the other spans have been taken over by U.S. forces. A police officer in nearby Iskandariyah, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, said a curfew had been imposed on vehicles and pedestrians after the attack and earlier bombings of a mosque and a Sunni political party's headquarters that caused some damage but no casualties.

Bush wanted to prove that there was Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and his mission is now — ex-post facto — accomplished. So, can we have our troops and the bravest of our journalists back now?

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The rant was of a long, profane and analytical nature such that I regret not having recording instruments available (and also not having been out of bed more than five minutes and on 1st cup of coffee). Elements included were "Custer selling rifles to the Commanche", "because this worked so well with the Taliban versus the Soviets" and assorted references to Lieberman, Quisling, John Wilkes Booth and Tony Soprano. Oh, and Colin Powell too, along with the makeup of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but I think the subject may have been sliding a bit by that point.

(BTW I'm not sure anybody has mentioned this but the sacking of Pace and his replacement with the CoS from the Navy fucked up the career of the current Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He's Navy too and the rules forbid having both the chairman and vice chair be from the same service. Oddly enough he resigned....last week. Suggesting that this deal with Pace was known to some a bit before it was released to the public.)