Sunday, August 14, 2005

Iraq clusterfuck: Let's welcome the administration to the reality-based community! 

(A Kos diarist posts the reasons why the following story is sourced from Rummy. My extreme White House-ology talents make me think that Cheney Cheney'ed himself with that "last throes" comment, and Bush locked Cheney into his coffin and gave the ball to Rummy. Couldn't have happened to a nicer chickenhawk.)

Anyhow, choice quotes from Pravda on the Potomac this morning, on A1:

U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq
Administration Is Shedding 'Unreality' That Dominated Invasion, Official Says
(via WaPo)

"Honey, I've changed!"

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning. [i.e., the last three years is the beginning]"

(Note that "absorbing" is a Rummy word; that's what tipped off the Kos diarist.)

U.S. officials say no turning point forced a reassessment. "It happened rather gradually," said the senior official, triggered by everything from the insurgency to shifting budgets to U.S. personnel changes in Baghdad.

Shame about the dead, though. Too bad they didn't die gradually.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

Yes, it's a shame about the dead. Too bad they didn't die slowly.

On security, the administration originally expected the U.S.-led coalition to be welcomed with rice and rosewater, traditional Arab greetings, with only a limited reaction from loyalists of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

And you can bet that if our welcome was anything like that, there would have been a photo op and a wave of planted stories. Instead, we had to organize the Saddam statue-toppling photo-op all by ourselves. (Rice and rosewater, eh? That's how the Israelis were welcomed into Lebanon by the Christian Maronites (here) So I wonder where that little piece of delusional thinking came from?)

[According to Wayne White, former head of the State Department's Iraq intelligence team who is now at the Middle East Institute,] the initial ambitions may have complicated the U.S. mission: "In order to get out earlier, expectations are going to have to be lower, even much lower. The higher your expectation, the longer you have to stay. Getting out is going to be a more important consideration than the original goals were. They were unrealistic."

Yes indeed, a shame about the dead. Too bad they died realistically.

Let's give a warm welcome to the Bush administration as it joins the reality-based community!

NOTE Watching how the White House and the Republican Noise machine try to extricate themselves from the P.R. quagmire will be interesting. After all, everyone who had the "unrealistic" views on Iraq was promoted, and everyone who had realistic views was fired, demoted, and/or shunned. So who will have the "accountability moment"? I think Rove's "stab in the back" machinery will be fired up sooner rather than later. They can't wait for the 2006 election to blame the Dems for their debacle; they need a cover story right now.

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