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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

Bad decisions have a way of reappearing at the worst possible moment to stab you in the back. Especially when there is documentary evidence that a better decision was right there for the choosing -- and you decided to go with your piss poor planning cronies instead.

And when you steadfastly refuse to admit mistakes...well, that just makes those piss poor decisions rising up to haunt you even more difficult to spin away, doesn't it?

Prior to the start of the Iraq War, the State Department, under the supervision of Tom Warrick, put together a comprehensive plan to move Iraq from its then-current state of dictatorship towards a more democratic, open and functioning free society. Via Juan Cole, this morning I found that a copy of those plans has now been posted online at The Memory Hole, and they are worth a peek -- if only to see what could have been had Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney not thrown those plans in the garbage.

Because, you know, the whole candy and flowers thing has gone smashingly thus far -- especially all that non-existent post-invasion security planning. Boo yah.

Our men and women in uniform deserved a hell of a lot better than piss poor planning without any consideration for the worst case scenarios in which we now find ourselves. Just as a single example, Iraq is now experiencing a 3-year low in electrical power, due to the overwhelming number of sabotage incidents across the grid. Was there any planning as to how to deal with this up front? No clue. But we'd better start working on some infrastructure protection planning post haste, if the President's new timetable for withdrawal is going to come close to being met.

Oh, and nice flip flop on the whole "no timetables under my watch" lie, Bushie. The corporate media may have ignored this little tidbit, but I heard it loud and clear. I'm sure Rep. Murtha will accept your apology for smearing him any day now, would that you had the strength of character to actually give him one. I'm just saying.

In my book, you do not plan for the worst only after it comes to pass -- and Rumsfeld and his cronies should be held to account. As should President Bush. Somehow, I think history will look askance at flying in Ahmed Chalabi and his "Gucci warriors" (and what idiot came up with that name?) as the "big plan" for stability in Iraq.

Reuters is reporting on yesterday's DoD presser, which caused a bit of a stir, with Gen. Peter Pace saying, out loud, that there really was no evidence at all whatsoever that Iran as a state was supplying insurgents in Iraq with weapons materiale.

The top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday the United States does not have proof that Iran's government is responsible for Iranians smuggling weapons and military personnel into Iraq.

President George W. Bush said on Monday components from Iran were being used in powerful roadside bombs used in Iraq, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week that Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel had been inside Iraq.

Asked whether the United States has proof that Iran's government was behind these developments, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon briefing, "I do not, sir."

That this came from the podium at the Pentagon is a huge deal, and no doubt one that resulted in a bit of an ass chewing after the presser -- but sometimes, honesty in service to your troops is a must, even when your Commander in Chief isn't so big on the whole "tell me all of the facts, especially the bad news" sort of philosophy.It's certainly one thing to say that component parts of the IEDs and other munitions come from Iranian manufacturers and suppliers who are out to make a quick buck or from militant factions headquartered in Iran who are supplying their Shi'ite compadres in Iraq in what they consider a holy war for the soul of Islam -- and quite another thing entirely to say that the government of Iran itself is supplying them.

I'm certain if we looked closely at a lot of the IEDs, we could also say that some of their components came from the US and our allies, given that we were supplying Saddam Hussein with munitions for a long time as our surrogate against Iran in the 1980s and beyond. (For a lovely pix of Saddam with Rummy, see here.)

US military airstrikes are significantly increasing in Iraq, according to Knight Ridder. (Last throes, my ass.)

Iraq's neighbors are increasingly worried that the chaos in that country could draw the entire region into a protracted civil war.

They are also considering its likely impact on an already shifting regional balance of power, in which Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia fears the rising political clout of Shi'ite Muslim Iran.

"If war breaks out in Iraq, it will become a battleground involving everyone in the region," said Kuwaiti political analyst Jassem al-Saadoun. "Every one of Iraq's neighbours is guilty of meddling in its affairs for political gain."

Ever since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, several Arab officials have warned of civil war in Iraq, where Shi'ites dominate the government and security forces and Sunni insurgents control swathes of the country.

This sort of warning was going on before we invaded Iraq -- and it is information the Bush Administration ignored to the region's peril, now precariously balanced on the edge of the sword of civil war hanging over Iraq, day by day.As for our troop drawdown -- well, it isn't going well at all, since Gen. Casey has had to request more troops because of the increasing violence and instability in Iraq. That's right: US troop levels are increasing, contrary to the image spin and tap dance from the White House.

George Bush can blame the media all he wants for this quagmire -- after all, you can't have people telling the truth about how Iraq is slipping quickly down that civil war slope under our watch, now can we, since it makes President Bush look bad and calls out his rosy scenario public statements for the lies they are. But he only has himself and his advisors to blame.

They disregarded intelligence and foreign policy analysis, warnings from our allies in the region that civil war was the likely result of invasion, and updates all along from field commanders that more troops, more materiale, more planning was necessary to quell the increasing tensions and to give our men and women in uniform the ability to do their jobs properly before even more chaos and civil war resulted. Those repeated warnings went unheeded. We have made a mess of things.

Iraqi authorities discovered at least 87 corpses, men shot to death execution-style, as Iraq edged closer to open civil warfare. Twenty-nine of the bodies, dressed only in underwear, were dug out of a single grave Tuesday in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.

The recent bloodshed appeared to be retaliation for a bomb and mortar attack in the Sadr City slum that killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 200 two days earlier.

Iraqi authorities discovered at least 87 corpses, men shot to death execution-style, as Iraq edged closer to open civil warfare. Twenty-nine of the bodies, dressed only in underwear, were dug out of a single grave Tuesday in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.

Also, Iraq's Interior Minister said that some 421 al-Qaeda fighters tried to infiltrate an Iraqi army battalion that is responsible for guarding all the check points and entrances to the green zone, where the U.S. embassy and key government posts are housed in the Baghdad, reports CBS News correspondent Lara Logan.

The fact of the matter is: George Bush lost Iraq before he even invaded the country, because he and his advisors failed to properly consider all of the contingencies. They are now reaping what they sowed -- but unfortunately they are doing it on the backs of our brave men and women in uniform. And on the backs of Iraqis and others in the region who now have to live, day in and day out, with these consequences.

I wish I had good answers for all of this, but I don't. But the Ides of March is feeling awfully grim today (and that's only a discussion of Iraq, things aren't looking so cheery in a lot of other sectors as well today). With this much sectarian violence and animosity bubbling over the borders, and the potential for its spread across the whole of the Middle East, I have never been more fearful than I am right now. Would that President Bush had the humility to understand what his mistakes have wrought for years and years to come.

(Graphics love to The Worried Shrimp. btw, yes, this is ReddHedd posting -- I've switched to my real name because hiding behind a pseudonym was getting on my last nerve. Just FYI.)

NOTE: This is a cross-post from We're having a little hitch this morning with the transfer -- so sorry for inconvenience for everyone, but apparently there is a problem for some folks in loading the new website. We're working on it. In the meantime, here was my first post of the morning. More to come...we'll be posting in both places until we can figure out the glitch. Thanks everyone!