I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

So this is progress

The Washington Post reported yesterday that:
Reports of Progress In Iraq Challenged
In an editorial the New York Times went a bit further:
Another Grim Week in Iraq
On Sunday in Basra, British troops stormed an Iraqi intelligence office and found about 30 prisoners, some of them tortured. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki was outraged — not at the torture, but at the raid that halted it. Soon British troops will be leaving Basra, leaving Mr. Maliki and his security forces free to do as they please.

On Monday in Baghdad, a suicide bomber attacked a row of bookstores, killing 20 people. The White House insists that Baghdad is growing more secure, as the extra infusion of American troops ordered by President Bush begins to take up positions in threatened neighborhoods. And on it went. On Tuesday, sectarian attacks killed at least 118 Shiite pilgrims. Then on Thursday, The Times reported that the day-to-day commander of American forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, was recommending that those extra 21,500 combat troops — plus the 7,000 support troops Mr. Bush somehow forgot to mention — stay on into next year. On the same day, General Odierno’s boss, Gen. David Petraeus, said that even more American troops could be needed in the near future.

Anyone who wanted to believe that all Mr. Bush was seeking was a short-term security push — as part of a larger strategy to extricate American troops from this unwinnable war — now needs to face up to a far less palatable reality. What is under way is a significant and long-term escalation. The Army cannot sustain these levels for more than another few months. And as long as Iraq’s leaders refuse to make significant political changes, the civil war will continue to spin out of control.
And the bad news continues today:
Suicide blast kills 32 Shiites in Iraq
BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber rammed a truck carrying Shiite pilgrims returning from a religious commemoration Sunday, killing at least 32 people a day after Iraqi leaders warned sectarian violence could spread through the Middle East.

Hundreds of pilgrims were killed by suspected Sunni insurgents as they traveled to the ceremonies in the holy city of Karbala, where millions had gathered for two days of commemorations, and their return journey was equally treacherous.

The truck was bringing about 70 men and boys home and had reached central Baghdad when it was blasted by the car bomber. At least 32 people were killed and 24 were injured, police and hospital officials said.

Attacks on other vehicles carrying pilgrims Sunday killed at least five people in Baghdad.

One of those in the truck, Mustafa Moussawi, a 31-year-old vegetable store owner, said they group felt safe after crossing from Sunni-dominated areas.

"Then the car bomber slammed us from behind," said Moussawi, who suffered injuries to his right hand and shoulder. "I blame the government. They didn't provide a safe route for us even though they knew we were targets for attack."
Of course we continue to get the happy talk from the administration but as the Times editorial says not many are buying the spin.
At times, however, Bush's assessment appeared less than fully accurate. "The Iraqi government," the president said, "has completed the deployment of three additional Iraqi Army brigades to the capital. They said they were going to employ three brigades, and they did." But a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad said this week that two Iraqi brigades and one battalion of a third have arrived in Baghdad. Two of the five new U.S. brigades committed under the new strategy have also arrived.

Bush's report that "Iraqi and U.S. forces have rounded up more than 700 people affiliated with Shia extremists" appears to have little to do with the new strategy. The number is "based on captures . . . since July 2006," the military official said. Bush first reported the same roundup -- citing 600 captures -- last fall.

The administration's past rhetoric on Iraq -- from "Mission Accomplished" in spring 2003 to the "Strategy for Victory in Iraq" in the fall of 2005 and last summer's "Plan Baghdad" -- has left it open to questions.

"I think people would be more sympathetic . . . if he hadn't spent the last four years in a variety of ways exaggerating, hyping and not being clear about the facts," said a senior Democratic congressional staffer who was not authorized to speak on the record. "Now he's saying the sky isn't falling, and people don't believe it."
The war is lost although that may not be accurate since we really never knew what winning was. Bush's "plan" calls for a war we can;t fight - a long war we don't have the resources to continue.

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