The Bush administration and its supporters never give up. They still think they can bullhorn their way out of any disaster they create.
Bush administration sex doll Joe Lieberman told CNN on Thursday that he "thinks the president's changed policy in Iraq has successfully decreased the violence in Baghdad and increased the confidence of U.S. forces there."
Joe Lieberman "thinks" things are going well? What makes him think that?
"Our soldiers told [Ret. Gen. Jack Keane] they feel more confident than ever as they go on patrol in Baghdad in the neighborhoods we've settled into with their Iraqi colleagues," Lieberman told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "The American soldier is more confident walking the streets of Baghdad today and that's a very important change."
As to the wave of shooting deaths in Tal Afar earlier this week, Lieberman told Blitzer the massacres were all the more reason not to leave Iraq prematurely.
As the CNN report indicates, Joe is getting his information from retired Army General Jack Keane. You should know a few things about Keane before you judge what he has to say about the progress of the "surge" strategy.
Keane was a military adviser to the Iraq Study Group (ISG) who labeled the group's recommendations as "impractical." “Based on where we are now we can’t get there,” he said, and added that the ISG's conclusions said more about "the absence of political will in Washington than the harsh realities in Iraq.”
Funny thing about Keane. Around the time he was working with the ISG, he was also working with Fred Kagan of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute on the so-called "surge plan" that Mr. Bush is presently executing. In late December of 2006, Keane and Kagan wrote:
Bringing security to Baghdad--the essential precondition for political compromise, national reconciliation and economic development--is possible only with a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so. Any other option is likely to fail.
So it's little wonder that Keane would tell Lieberman that "our soldiers feel more confident" while on patrol in Baghdad.
It's also little wonder that the Kagan/Keane plan seemed so tailor made to refute the ISG's recommendations, given that Keane was in on the ISG's deliberations.
And hey, come to think of it, Robert Gates was an "expert" on the ISG prior to his nomination to the Secretary of Defense post.
Isn't that interesting?
Higher and Deeper
Mr. Bush recently quoted two Iraqi bloggers as saying that things are returning to normal in that country's capital. Said bloggers are a pair of brothers who write an English language blog in Baghdad. They both got to meet Mr. Bush in the Oval Office in 2004. U.S. Blogger JuliaAnn notes that the Iraqi bloggers' prose sounds like something Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes might have written. It sounds that way to me too. It sounds to me like they're on the payroll.
On the diplomatic front: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pulled the pin on the Bush administration's Iraq policy earlier this week with his opening remarks at the annual Arab League summit meeting.
In beloved Iraq, blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation, and ugly sectarianism threatens civil war.
"We were a little surprised to see those remarks," said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. He allowed as how maybe King Abdullah was "mistranslated."
Heck of a job, Burnsie. Did you come up with the "mistranslated" line, or did Karen Hughes write it for you?
Reuters reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice phoned Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir to discuss Abdullah's remarks. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice and Al-Jubeir had a "good chat."
I just bet they did.
On the home front: six weeks after the Washington Post broke the Walter Reed scandal, Mr. Bush visited the facility. That's more time than it took him to visit New Orleans after Katrina.
"The problems at Walter Reed were caused by bureaucratic and administrative failures,'' he said at the end of his two hour visit. The system failed you and it failed our troops and we're going to fix it.''
Not surprisingly, Bush didn't mention anything about timelines for getting the Walter Reed problems fixed. And what's the hurry? Top Walter Reed officials, including the Army's surgeon general, had heard complaints about the conditions at the hospital for more than three years.
After all, Katrina happened almost two years ago, and we've been we've been stuck in Iraq for four years. Halliburton and its subsidiaries will get around to fixing them eventually.
Here's another non-surprise. In January 2006, Walter Reed awarded a five year, $120 million contract for support services and facilities management to IAP Worldwide Services. IAP is led by Al Neffgen, a former Halliburton official.
I'm sure that's a coincidence. I'm also sure that $120 million contract will grow like a beanstalk now that now that Mr. Bush has promised the facilities situation at Walter Reed will be "fixed."
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.