Hey, unfortunately, it’s not This Week in Bullshit, but here’s your weekly compilation of news you may or may not have seen or read regarding America’s most
disastrous ridiculous war.
Well, speaking of Bullshit, Gen. David “Ass-Kissing Little Chickenshit” Petraeus spread it thick over Congress last week, touting “success” in Iraq (as did the Ass-Kissee-in-Chief in a nationally televised address) and dominating American media headlines. That’s too bad, because far more important stories were unfolding in Iraq itself, and they tended to directly and badly undermine Gen. AKLC Petraeus’s assertions.
The same day that Pres. Bush made his speech to that remaining fraction of the nation that cares what he thinks about Iraq, the tribal leader Bush had embraced only ten days previous in Anbar Province as an example of heroic leadership, uniting various Sunni tribes to try to rid the province of the widely despised Al-Qaeda and its foreign fighters, was assassinated. Thing is, the Americans are just as despised as Al-Qaeda, and so when Bush embraced the thuggish Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha as his kinda guy — Time Magazine described Abu Risha last week as having “a rather unsavory reputation as one of the shadiest figures in the Sunni community,” with a personal militia, a history of drug running, and a tribe notorious for highway banditry — he essentially signed Abu Risha’s death warrant. He was assassinated the day of Bush’s speech, somewhat undermining the claim that all Anbar is now happy and pro-American. While the White House blamed the murder on Al Qaeda in Iraq (of course), more likely it was a local hit, confirming the first rule of Middle East politics: the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.
BBC/ABC/NHK polling last week showed just how unpopular the Americans are after the “success” of the
escalation surge in Anbar. The results were grim enough in Iraq as a whole: 70 percent of Iraqis think security is worse in escalation surge areas now compared to before it began (and another 11 percent thought it unchanged, meaning over 80 percent of Iraqis believe the whole exercise has been a waste). A whopping 60 percent now think attacks on US troops are justified; 47 percent want the US to leave now, up from 35 percent before the escalation surge; and 35 percent believe American withdrawal would make further civil war more likely, compared to 46 percent who think it’d be less likely. Pretty damning stuff.
But in Anbar Province it was worse:
In a survey conducted Aug. 17-24 for ABC News, the BBC and NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, among a random national sample of 2,212 Iraqis, 72 percent in Anbar expressed no confidence whatsoever in United States forces. Seventy-six percent said the United States should withdraw now — up from 49 percent when we polled there in March, and far above the national average.
Withdrawal timetable aside, every Anbar respondent in our survey opposed the presence of American forces in Iraq — 69 percent “strongly” so. Every Anbar respondent called attacks on coalition forces “acceptable,” far more than anywhere else in the country. All called the United States-led invasion wrong, including 68 percent who called it “absolutely wrong.”
Every. Anbar. Respondent. So much for winning hearts and minds.
Another poll released last week was even starker. The British polling agency ORB, in surveying Iraqi families to find how many families had members who’ve died in the occupation and war, estimated that one in two families have lost at least one member, and that overall a staggering 1.2 million or more Iraqi civilians have killed so far. That number is roughly in line with the widely ridiculed 655,000 number published in an epidemiological study in Lancet last summer, and confirms not only that the civilian death toll has been far higher than official estimates, but that the violence has worsened sharply in the last year.
escalation surge wasn’t popular in Baghdad, either: on Wednesday, residents of one of the few remaining areas where a Sunni and a Shiite neighborhood adjoin each other took to the streets to protest the U.S. military’s erection of a wall to segregate them from each other. The walls being built to “protect” residents from each other have been fiercely criticized by many residents themselves, who argue that they promote ethnic segregation, are as likely to keep attackers in as out, and separate family from family.
But perhaps the biggest Iraq story of the week got almost no media play here: the oil deal cut by the Kurdish provincial government with Hunt Oil Co. of Dallas. Why is this a big deal? First, it means local governments are starting to ignore the Green Zone government entirely and cut their own deals, which is a death knell for the oil “revenue-sharing” law that is perhaps the U.S. government’s biggest benchmark for political “success” in Iraq. It also suggests that Big Oil is now betting on the failure of the U.S. mission in Iraq and the subsequent partitioning of the country. And the deal itself (along with one the Kurds recently cut for natural gas) makes that partitioning more likely, as the Kurds and Shiites have plenty of their own oil resources and need neither the Sunnis nor each other, let alone the phantom al-Maliki “government.”
The last element undercutting Gen. AKLC’s testimony last week was the Pentagon report it was supposed to accompany. That was quietly released just before the weekend, and showed that even with the administration’s extremely generous definition of “progress,” only half of Congress’s 18 benchmarks showed progress, exactly one more than in an interim report in July. That area was in allowing former Ba’athists into the government, and the “progress” there was only in a tenuous deal between a handful of politicians that has yet to be implemented — and that is similar to numerous such deals that have collapsed in the past. Meanwhile, a separate State Department report, also quietly released in a Friday Afternoon News Dump, revealed that — surprise! — religious freedom in Iraq is down sharply in the last year.
Somehow, this all is being spun as “success,” and Bush is now promising a “withdrawal” to celebrate it — next Spring, six months past schedule, back to pre-
escalationsurge troop levels because the US military can’t sustain its current deployment without either extending tours (again) or starting a draft. Which is to say Bush is keeping in as many troops as he can as long as he possibly can, and then seeking credit for giving our poor men and women in uniform (the ones that survive his vanity project for a few more months, anyway) a long-overdue rest.
Or maybe he’ll just send them to Iran. That propaganda campaign also continued apace last week, with the US claiming that a fatal mortar attack on U.S. military headquarters was carried out with an Iranian rocket. Even if you accept the curious logic that the Iranian government is responsible for every Iranian-made weapon Iraq — after all, the U.S. has utterly flooded Iraq for the last four years with weapons now on the black market, and you don’t see Washington bombing itself — the evidence to support the claim that the rocket was Iranian-made turned out to be less than compelling. Here’s Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner: “Can I hold up a piece of fragment today that has a specific marking on it that traces this back to Iranian making? At this moment I can’t do that.” THEN SHUT THE HELL UP.