Also at DKos.
The Bush administration and its echo chamberlains continue the push to make Iran the cause of all things wrong in Iraq. But they're having trouble getting the story straight.
Iran got tired of all the accusations and said, "Prove it." We said, "Okay, give us a week and we will."
Then Iran got blamed for the attack on U.S. troops in Karbala.
But then it turned out a couple of senior Iraqi generals might have been behind the attacks.
And when it came time to produce all that proof we had of Iranian meddling in Iraq, we decided our proof wasn't good enough to release to the public.
Purge and Surge, Bait and Switch
On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to send a resolution of disapproval of Mr. Bush's escalation strategy to the Senate floor next week.
The new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the new commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq General David Petraeus have criticized the non-binding initiative, saying it will "embolden" the enemy and send the wrong signal to our troops. What would expect of them? They're Bush political appointees.
Mr. Bush's proposed "surge" was advertised as 21,500 additional troops to Iraq, but the Congressional Budget Office thinks the real number will be more that twice that--as high as 48,000. That's because the combat troops will need to be accompanied by support personnel. Here I thought the 21,500 figure included the support personnel. Silly me, taking anything Bush says at face value. I should know better by now. We all should.
Hold That Tiger?
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are trying to block any and all disapproval resolutions. They're proposing a bill that essentially gives Bush another blank check to do whatever he wants in Iraq. It establishes benchmarks for the Iraqis to meet, but doesn't list any consequences if the Iraqis fail to meet the benchmarks, nor does it dictate any timetables or deadlines. It expresses confidence in General Petraeus, and pledges that he will have all the resources he needs to complete the mission. Whatever the mission is.
At the end of the day, it probably won't matter what does or doesn't get passed by the Senate or the House. Dick Cheney has already said the administration is going "full speed ahead" with its policy. Public opinion, election results, legislation: none of that matters to the White House. In a November interview, Cheney told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "We've got the strategy right." If old "Last Throes" thinks the strategy is "right," you know it has to be a Betty Crocker disaster.
Some members of Congress also want to keep Bush from attacking Iran without the legislature's permission. Good luck with that. The heated rhetoric between Tehran and Washington, combined with the U.S. naval buildup in the Gulf region, are a surefire formula for a repeat of the Tonkin Gulf incident that Lyndon Johnson used to justify escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam Conflict.
What I still haven't figured out is why nobody in Congress or the media is asking what in the wide world of sports, arts and sciences we're doing in Somalia. In early January, our forces conducted at least two air strikes in southern Somalia, supposedly targeting members of al-Qaeda who were allegedly responsible for the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.
We have stepped into the middle of a third civil war in the Central Command area of responsibility. Under what authority? I haven't heard an answer to that question. I haven't even heard anyone ask it.
One Tin Sailor
Lest we forget Afghanistan…
Radio Free Europe reports that the lower chamber of Afghanistan's parliament has passed a bill that will grant immunity to all Afghans involved in war crimes over the last 25 years. One of the bill's sponsors is Mohammad Mohaqeq, who has himself been accused of committing war crimes.
Afghan analyst Amin Tarzi predicts that the upper chamber will pass the bill in its current form, and that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will not veto it because "Karzai's plan is to offer an olive branch to the Taliban."
This would be the same Taliban we supposedly went into Afghanistan to eliminate.
One Bush nominee who hasn't blown too much in the standard line of administration bull feathers is Admiral William J. Fallon, who is on tap to succeed General John Abizaid as head of Central Command. Fallon has a reputation for being a no-nonsense kind of guy. I've heard him described as "completely humorless," at least in his public persona, but that's fine. The last thing we need right now is a funny man in charge of Central Command. We have enough clowns running around the White House and the Pentagon as it is.
And Fallon faces a deadly somber prospect. His predecessor, Abizaid, is the first American general to "not win" two wars. Fallon is staring down the barrel at the possibility of being the first American admiral to not win four of them.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.