Mr. Bush has invoked Vietnam to argue against leaving Iraq. That argument is specious, but there is a chilling similarity between the two American foreign policy disasters. In Vietnam, as in Iraq, American presidents and military leaders went to great lengths to pretend that victory was at hand when nothing could be farther from the truth.The New York Times which published all the spin and lies fit to print in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq finally recognizes spin and lies.
More Realism, Less Spin
A new report from Congress’s investigative arm provides a powerful fresh dose of nonpartisan realism about Iraq as President Bush tries to spin people into thinking that significant — or at least sufficient — progress is being made. With a crucial debate on Iraq set for next month, the report should be read by members of Congress who may be wavering in the fight with the White House over withdrawing American troops.That is a refreshing bit of realism from the former home of Judith Miller.
The Government Accountability Office, in a draft assessment reported yesterday, determined that Iraq has failed to meet 15 out of 18 benchmarks for political and military progress mandated by Congress. Laws on constitutional reform, oil and permitting former Baathists back into the government have not been enacted. Among other failings, there has been unsatisfactory progress toward deploying three Iraqi brigades in Baghdad and reducing the level of sectarian violence.Yes, the Times is saying no matter how the administration and it's PhD general try to spin it the surge has been a failure.
These conclusions are in line with a recent National Intelligence Estimate that found that violence in Iraq remained high, terrorists could still mount formidable attacks and the country’s leaders “remain unable to govern effectively.”
Mr. Bush earlier this year ordered a massive buildup of American troops in Iraq in a desperate attempt to salvage his failed strategy and stave off Congressional moves to bring the forces home. Despite the cost of more American lives, he argued that he was buying a period of relative calm for Iraqi politicians to achieve national reconciliation.
The top American officials in Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, are to present their assessments on how calm things are at eagerly awaited Congressional hearings in mid-September. Their findings, and a White House report due Sept. 15, are seen as a potential trigger for a change in Iraq strategy.
Two things, however, are already clear. Iraq’s leaders have neither the intention nor the ability to take advantage of calm, relative or otherwise. And a change in strategy seems the farthest thing from Mr. Bush’s mind.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that more and more people are able to see that the Bush/Cheney misadventure in Iraq is a failure on monumental proportion.