I have not written much about Iraq lately, simply because there has not been any real change for the last few months. In areas where the US forces can impose their will, they are. In those areas life is better, but only as long as the US can keep that force in place. Some Sunni groups are now being armed and paid by the US to fight against other Sunni groups in an effort to reduce the civil strife. This works but like Afghanistan of the 1980s the law of unintended consequences may apply. Many have pointed out that the end result of arming the Sunni may eventually lead to giving them the resources they need to take on the government currently headed by Shiite groups and result in expanding the conflict, not reducing it.
What has happened recently is a few events that clearly display that the US is not getting the whole story.
First we start with the Iranian Navy's 'attack' on 3 US warships. When the story first came out the US military gave us a video showing the activity, including the communication between the US and Iranian crews. It later is reported that the video feed presented to the media was not as pure as it could have been. It was edited by the military with the audio from one source added to the video from another to produce the media ready product. After a few more days of saber rattling by the Bush administration more news comes out. The voice presented by the US Navy as Iranian crew members may have been a well know nuisance and the behavior of the Iranian Navy and their little speed boats is nothing new.
So why did the US military rush out this damning tape and push it on the press?
The we learn about Arab Jabour. This is an area that recently the US military had claimed was a success of the surge. It was an shining example of who locals working with the US could push the evil doers out. If it was such a success, why did we have to drop over 40,000 pounds of bombs on a number of targets? For those who are interested Badtux has a primer on the effects and side effects of aerial bombardment.
Why did the US military rush out to claim success in an area that obviously was not yet a success?
Now we are hearing claims of political progress in Iraq. This is the crucial point. With political progress the surge in Iraq will be a success, as long as there is no political progress, it is a failure. It appears that the Iraqi government has finally developed a plan to reverse debaathication, a vital step in political reunification. John McCain is claiming his plan has worked and that this is a sure sign of progress. A nice story but if this is true, why are the forces who opposed debaathication the ones who approved this measure and why are those who favored debaathication unhappy with the result.
Could John McCain be lying (again), or does he honestly not understand they dynamics and players involved in this. Since he has shown a reasonable level of understanding of the situation in the past, I am left assuming that he has decided that, in light of the pending elections in Michigan in South Carolina, it is best to claim success, and ignore the truth.
So we the people are left wondering who we can trust to provide us real information. The military clearly is more interested in promoting fantasy that supports the narrative put forward by the administration; Iraq is a success and Iran is evil. And our politicians do what they always do, spin the truth to the point that provides them the greatest amount to leverage, no matter what the real truth may actually indicate.
McCain, Iran, Surge, Iraq