Thursday, August 17, 2006

The steady downward slope 

One of the things that struck me about the conflict in Lebanon was how it managed to push that other rather untidy little war - Iraq - almost completely out of the news. Rather strange given that over the month that the Israel-Lebanon fighting took place a lot more people were killed in Iraq. But I imagine that the Bush administration liked it that way as anything that distracts the American public from the war is welcome. And today there appeared in the NYT an article that showed what they want to distract people from:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 — The number of roadside bombs planted in Iraq rose in July to the highest monthly total of the war, offering more evidence that the anti-American insurgency has continued to strengthen despite the killing of the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Along with a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikes against American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January. The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of that increase. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959 were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs exploded or were found.

The bomb statistics — compiled by American military authorities in Baghdad and made available at the request of The New York Times — are part of a growing body of data and intelligence analysis about the violence in Iraq that has produced somber public assessments from military commanders, administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels,” said a senior Defense Department official who agreed to discuss the issue only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. “The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time.”

A separate, classified report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, dated Aug. 3, details worsening security conditions inside the country and describes how Iraq risks sliding toward civil war, according to several officials who have read the document or who have received a briefing on its contents.

To summarize, the war effort in Iraq is going down the tubes - fast. So what to do?:

Bush administration officials now admit that Iraqi government’s original plan to rein in the violence in Baghdad, announced in June, has failed. The Pentagon has decided to rush more American troops into the capital, and the new military operation to restore security there is expected to begin in earnest next month.

Yet some outside experts who have recently visited the White House said Bush administration officials were beginning to plan for the possibility that Iraq’s democratically elected government might not survive.

“Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

“Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect,” the expert said, “but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy.”

In a way this is an absurd statement, it's not as if their puppet regime is democratic to begin with. So what they are really saying is pretty soon the facade will have to come off so they can have the government take more draconian and brutal steps to try to repress the Iraqis fighting for their independance and freedom. It will be interesting to see if this will be Vietnam II where they actually have the military overthrow their own puppet regime!

Anyways, with news like this its easy to see why they are eager for distractions. At this point they would probably even take another Katrina if it got peoples minds off of Iraq.


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