Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

November 1, 2006

Edging Towards Chaos

Apparently, this looks like winning to Bush:

A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.

A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.

The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.
As The Agonist noted, this chart was leaked from the military, which means that they know what's going on and someone in the ranks can no longer stand the faux happy talk. Some things that immediately jumped at me from the chart (click image to enlarge):

• Public hostile rhetoric from political/religious leaders is routine.

• Unorganized spontaneous mass civil conflict is routine.

• The government and police are significantly ineffectual.

• Militias significantly expand their security role.

• Low level sectarian violence is critical.

• A notation boxed in red underneath notes, "urban areas experiencing ethnic cleansing campaigns to consolidate control... violence at all-time high, spreading geographically".

• As Global Guerilla pointed out, chaos is now used as a military metric.

The article notes that this chart was part of a briefing prepared three days before General Abizaid met with Bush and Rumsfeld on October 18th, which means that Bush and Rumsfeld knew that things were that bad.

Yet what do they do? The Pentagon publicly insists that the Iraqi government is making progress and security is improving. Bush continues to claim that the "Democratic goal is to get out of Iraq and that "the Republican goal is to win in Iraq" while simultaneously teaming up with other Republicans in attacking John Kerry over a non-issue to make political points.

Bush and his administration are so busy attacking political opponents and hiding the truth instead of attacking terrorists and solving the quagmire they've hatched in Iraq.

As Daily Kos notes:

It's said that a picture is worth is a thousand words. Is this chart worth 2,817 American deaths? Is that clinical image of a nation sliding towards chaos worth 44,779 wounded? Is it worth the tens of thousands of slain Iraqis?

American voters don't think so. The NIE and this chart demonstrate that the administration is well aware that Iraq is a "failed state", that "ethnic cleaning" is taking place, and that a stay-the-course policy has failed to stop the stop the steady march towards chaos.

And for all the talk of "changing tactics," for all spin-filled pages of the President's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq", the President has no plan, and his party has refused to demand one from him.
Retired Lt. General William E. Odom lays down the straight talk (h/t: Firedoglake):

Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.

But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.

These realities get worse every day that our forces remain in Iraq. They can't be wished away by clever diplomacy or by leaving our forces in Iraq for several more years.
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posted at 9:14 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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