Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's right there in black and white. So now what?

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media

I’ll be (relatively) brief.

By now, most have seen or at least heard about the new NIE that says what we all already knew about Iraq. That there have been “measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation” and that the next six to twelve months are going to suck even worse than the past six months. Thinkprogress has a good roundup of the major points – that the government in Iraq is pretty much useless, the violence is going to get worse (and mind you – this has been the bloodiest and most violent summer since 2003), the refugee crisis is going to get worse and a few other lovely tidbits.

I was going to write a diary asking the Democrats who have recently come back from Iraq or those who have opened their mouths to indicate that there has been “progress” in Iraq, exactly what progress was being made and how was that, in any way, shape or form something that was even relevant to the big picture. But the one thing that stuck out the most for me was this passage about why the “sectarian violence” is down a bit in certain areas:
The polarization of communities is most evident in Baghdad, where the Shia are a clear majority in more than half of all neighborhoods and Sunni areas have become surrounded by predominately Shia districts. Where population displacements have led to significant sectarian separation, conflict levels have diminished to some extent because warring communities find it more difficult to penetrate communal enclaves.

Let me put that another way, the ethnic cleansing and civil war has displaced and driven so many people from their neighborhoods that the main reason for the reduction in violence is because the violence has segregated and displaced the population. Oh goody.

We know that Petraeus himself said back in March that there was no military solution in Iraq. We now know that the NIE is saying that there is little hope of any political solution anytime soon. This is also coupled with, and evidenced by (1) no benchmarks being met, (2) a non-existent Iraqi government which is on vacation and who knows if they are coming back, (3) a burning desire to get us out, (4) wholly uncalled for butting in by the US government into how and who should lead Iraq’s government and (5) there is already a power vacuum as every “leader” is criticizing everyone else.

So, no political solution, no military solution, and an NIE that comes oh-so-close to using the words “sectarian cleansing”. What makes the over-the-line comments by Levin, Clinton and others calling for al-Maliki to be replaced is that it puts the blame on him, and would essentially be extending this disaster by “resetting the clock” for his replacement – a replacement that would be doomed from the start, just as Maliki was.

Senator Reid issued the following earlier today:

“Today’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq confirms what most Americans already know: Our troops are mired in an Iraqi civil war and the President’s escalation strategy has failed to produce the political results he promised to our troops and the American people.

Our troops have done everything asked of them and more. Unfortunately Iraq’s leaders have not. And as today’s NIE makes clear, a political solution is extremely unlikely in the near term. Further pursuit of the Administration’s flawed escalation strategy is not in our nation’s best interests.

Every day that we continue to stick to the President’s flawed strategy is a day that America is not as secure as it could be. As the intelligence community reported in another NIE just weeks ago, America’s attention is distracted from Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which has regenerated its capacity to its pre-9/11 levels. That is why it is so essential that this September, Republicans join with Democrats to change course in Iraq and work to restore our nation’s security.”

That is a perfect sound byte. And in light of this, as well as recent statements from Reps. Clyburn and McNerney, not to mention Senator Clinton, somehow we see the Democrats moving away from the “changing course in Iraq”. We know that the republicans are not budging. We have seen the beginnings of a major spending spree on ads that falsely tie 9/11 to Iraq. We have seen a push to get the less wingnutty of the republicans back in line. We have already seen the “previews” of Petraeus’ the White House report that was supposed to be rainbows and chocolates.

There is nothing more that our troops can do in Iraq. Every single metric shows that things are getting worse on a big picture scale. You can always find a number that can support a more rosy outlook. But that is not reality. Troops dying is a reality. This failed and doomed from the start invasion is a reality.

It is time to make major moves towards “wrapping up” our military involvement in Iraq. All evidence points to no other option now. So, it is now up to the Democrats in Congress to make it happen when they come back into session.

We know what the republican plan is. We know what the administration’s plan is. We know what We the People want (and voted the Democrats into a majority for).

The ball is in Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi, Senators Levin, Clinton, Leahy, Obama and the House “Bush dogs” court, among many other people who were entrusted with making REAL efforts to ending this fiasco. This is the moment of truth. All of the evidence and support is there.

So, what’ll it be?

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