Incredibly, the Bush administration still manages to perpetrate the myth that the Democrats are weak on national security. I say "incredibly" because it is difficult to imagine how anyone could have possibly mismanaged our so-called Global War on Terror worse than Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the neo-cabal have.
More than two and a half years after the fall of Baghdad, an Iraqi special operations unit has taken the lead in a "smash and grab" mission against an insurgency cell in a rural community in Area IV labeled "Objective Hades."
"Only" a third of the troops in this operation were American forces, who merely came along to "observe and advise." The rest were "elite" Iraqi counterterrorism forces.
This supposedly indicates that the stand up/stand down plan is working. But having a third of a strike force go along to "observe and advise" indicates that the other two thirds still need entirely too much observing and advising.
In other words, they still suck.
Perhaps more significant than the level of supervision these "elite" Iraqi forces still require is the type of mission they're being trained to perform. For all the good these smash and grab missions have done to date in quelling the insurgency, we might as well call them "grip and grins."
That, of course, is nothing compared to the profound strategic error in the terror war of committing the overwhelming majority of our force to Iraq when the main sector of effort should have been Afghanistan. This is one of Congressman John Murtha's (D-Pennsylvania) main criticisms of the conduct of the war, and he's right.
In a remarkably (but predictably) skewed report, The Washington Times described last week's House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee hearing on defense spending as a "public faceoff" between Murtha and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
WaTime characterized criticisms of Rumsfeld by Murtha and Congressman Ken Obey (D-Wisconsin) as "attacks." It described Murtha's plan for redeployment of U.S. troops to the periphery of the region as "pessimistic" and all but accused him of pandering to the "political left and liberal press."
This sort of subliminal propaganda not only works on the gullible right, it appears to influence the left as well. While Murtha's plan is the only one on the table that makes any sense, the rest of the Democratic Party has shunned it, evidently fearful of being cast as "weak" by the right wing media and its cooperative echo chamberlains in the mainstream information sphere.
But what does war chief Donald Rumsfeld have to offer?
"When we get up in the morning, there's no road map how to do this," he said. "There's no guidebook that says, 'Gee, today you do this.' It is tough stuff."
Rumsfeld--and his hand picked four-star yes men--have no plan.
As Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) said in June of 2005, "The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is, we're losing in Iraq."
And yet an alarming number of Americans continue to believe that their safety and the security of their nation are in good hands.
On a related note, ABC News and other sources report today that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed never to be captured alive. That should be an easy vow to keep. If we haven't been able to capture him alive by now, it's doubtful we ever will be.