First, from CNN:
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged Tuesday the potential for civil war in Iraq but slammed the media for "exaggerated" reports about the security situation following recent violence between religious factions.
At a Pentagon press conference, Rumsfeld told reporters that the news on the recent violence in Iraq was full of inaccuracies, and might "inflame" the situation there.
"From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey," Rumsfeld said. "The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated."
Classic Rumsfeld. The press lied, if things get worse it will be the press's fault, and if it turns out press reports, no one can blame Rumsfeld for being wrong because he was just repeating what General Casey told him.
CNN and other media outlets who cited local officials reported that 100 Sunni mosque attacks and 500 deaths had occurred since the attack on the 1,200 year old Shiite Askariya Shrine in late February. General Casey, top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, reported roughly 30 mosque attacks and about 300 civilian deaths in that time frame.
"Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side," Rumsfeld said. "It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq."
Information wise, the "steady stream of errors" to come out of Iraq and the larger war on terror have come from the administration, the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, and other U.S. military sources. Jessica Lynch. Pat Tillman. Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib. There is no insurgency. There is no civil war. The insurgency is in its last throes. Iraqi forces are making significant progress.
An Information Shell Game
Marine General Peter Pace, Rumsfeld's polly cracker chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated at the same press conference that Iraqi security forces "are loyal to the central government" and have been protecting Iraqis and their religious sites.
Pace must have ignored reports that the Iraqi units called out to quell the Shiite militia anti-Sunni violence in Baghdad stood around, doing nothing, picking their noses, because a significant portion of the Iraqi army and police force are former militia members.
Maybe Pace, like some of his superiors in the chain of command, don't read newspapers or watch television because the "liberal" media "exaggerates" reality. Maybe Pace is one of those senior administration types who prefer to believe what their hand picked subordinates tell them over what open sources have to say. You think?
And maybe Pace is like the rest of the Rovewellian crowd that insists that in you didn't hear the tree fall in the forest, it didn't happen. And if it turns out that the tree did fall after all, you blame the press for having made it make so much noise going down.
Standing Up or Laying Down on the Job?
On Thursday, February 23rd, the Iraq Army's Sixth Division took over responsibility for 60 percent of the Baghdad area. The division's commander, Major General Mubdar Hatim Hazya Al Duleimi said, "The responsibility of our army is to protect this country and its people… And because of the bravery of our armed forces that sacrifice themselves on a daily basis, the amount of insurgent activity will continue to decrease."
Colonel Mohammed Wasi, commander of the 5th Brigade of the Iraq Sixth Division, said, "This brigade has trained hard, and we are ready for the mission. We promised God and the government that we will remain loyal soldiers, defending the borders of this country."
Of the shift of responsibilities in Baghdad from American to Iraqi forces, U.S Army Colonel Michael Beach of the Fourth Brigade Combat Team that will continue to support the Iraq Army's Fifth Division said, "This event sends a clear message to those who wish to disrupt or doubt the successful future of Iraq. As our combined forces continue to grow, we will follow the Iraqi lead as they continue to keep the pressure on the enemies of a free Iraq."
On March 6, Maj. Gen. Mubdar Hatim Hazya Al-Duleimi was killed by insurgents in Baghdad.
There aren't absolute rules in military affairs, but there are a few good rules of thumb.
One of them says that if you're a two-star commander of a division that lets you get killed by insurgents, you suck, and so does your division.
Another one says that anybody who claims otherwise if full of cattle feed.
A third one says that any force that totally denies reality is already defeated.
A fourth one says that the responsibility for that defeat goes all the way to the top of the chain of command.
A fifth one says that if the top of the chain of command denies responsibility for the ground truth, the folks on the ground will continue to be ground up for no good purpose.
Support the troops.
From the "Irony is Dead" Department
Rumsfeld told reporters that al Qaeda "has media committees" and tutors people on how to "manipulate" news organizations.
How many more Americans and Iraqis will wind up spinning in their graves over the propaganda this administration has spun on the U.S. populace to justify and sustain their woebegone war in Iraq?