Coming To Grips With Reality, The Hard Way

One must wonder if President Bush doesn’t wish he had his delightful Rummy back. In light of recent developments in Iraq, if nothing else, Rummy would be able to paint a pretty picture that doesn’t increase the likelihood of ulcers:

“Does the Sunni block quitting the Iraq parliament put a damper on things? Some might say that. Is the the fact that last July was the bloodiest July of the war in any way a referendum on how bad things are going? You tell me. All I know is that free Iraqis mean they are free to kill each other and even us! This is freedom! Freedom’s untidy and messy, but does that mean we’re losing the war? Absolutely not.”

Ah, good ol’ Rummy folks. Unfortunately for the kool-aid-drunk Bushites, Rummy’s successor isn’t exactly the same shade of silver lining as he was.

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he was discouraged by the situation in Iraq, notably ceding that yeah, the politics of the conflict is probably a bigger deal than initially thought. “We probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation, which, let’s face it, is not some kind of secondary issue.”

As the cool kids these days like to say, “Well, Duh!” I believe I have a faint memory of saying something along the lines of how the major factions that create the Iraqi political make up are displaying a winner-take-all attitude towards legislation back at the beginning of the “surge”.

Still, while Gates may not necessarily be drunk on the kool-aid, he’s still been sipping. Expressing hope that they can get the political severence of the Sunni’s “patched back together,” Gates also still holds hope on the military side of the house:

“I think the key is, not only establishing the security, but being able to hold on to those areas and for Iraqi Army and police to be able to provide the continuity of security over time,” he said. “It’s under that umbrella I think progress will be made at the national level.” Mr. Gates would not give a timetable.

Except, here’s what bothers me about this statement. Yes, train the Iraqi police and military, that’s all fine and dandy. But who do they take their marching orders from? Oh, that’s right, the government. So no matter how well trained your security forces are, how stable can they be if the organization issuing their orders is in a state of vicious chaos?

What leaves me with a deep sense of unease is the fact that, with the parliament as it stands right now, leaving Sunni’s largely unrepresented, so to are their interests with the Iraqi army and police. We already know that Iraq’s police force is in some regions actively engaged in criminal activity, and in some areas little more than a uniformed militia, would the now unrepresented Sunni’s now have more to fear from them as a threat? Same goes for the military.

On one hand, with parliament split and unable to come to compromise on just about anything, orders delivered to the military and police could be spurious, erratic, and as chaotic as the body that governs them. What’s worse is the possible reaction should one bloc gain the uncontested control they all seem to be vying for nowadays.

In other reality related news, it appears as though the Pentagon is STILL taking issue with troop death. Now I had already covered the concept that the reduced number of troop deaths for July is more along a seasonal path and that there have been more deaths in this past July compared to the same month in all the years preceding this one since the start of the war, and for a more analytical perspective, I recommend checking out Fester’s post over from the Newshoggers.

But, in a turn that is hard to see as anything but sneaky, as The Moderate Voice points out, after the fact the Pentagon snuck in three more deaths to bring the final total for US troop deaths in Iraq for July of 2007 to 81.

Further, while troop death has gone down, Iraqi civillian death has actually gone up, threatening the integrity of claims that the surge is having an overall net positive effect.

Which brings us to the main point. You can’t fight a war blind. For the past four years, this war has been conducted based on what a small group wanted to happen, not what was actually happening. They believed that they could affect the situation on the ground by the mere power of their thoughts; getting greeted with sweets and flowers, installing Chalabi as the leader of a peaceful Iraq, finding WMD, finding al Qaeda, turning the corner, turning the corner, turning the corner, and then making breathing room for political headway to be made. The problem is that while their thoughts failed to create reality out of whole cloth, the true reality on the ground decayed into chaos. It will stay that way too until someone without their head firmly planted up their ass is in charge of the situation. Even then, with as bad as Bush’s administration has screwed this one up, having someone competent and able to acknowledge reality may not be enough.

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