16 April 2006

"Brain-Dead"? Secretary Rice on Strategy & Tactics in Iraq

Writing for Bloomberg on-line (31 March 06) Correspondent Mark Deen reports that on her recent visit to Britain:

"Rice used her speech to defend the U.S. involvement in Iraq. While the U.S. had probably made ``thousands of tactical errors'' in Iraq and elsewhere, the Bush administration will be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East, she said.

``If you're impervious to the lessons you've just come out of you're brain-dead,'' she told the gathering, organized by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a U.K. foreign policy research center. ``I believe strongly it was the right strategic decision'' to invade Iraq."

Well, the Secretary rightly has taken significant criticism for that particular claim. If you are interested in learning about just how the indefensible "strategic decision" to invade Iraq has created mayhem tactically for American military operations there, I highly recommend George Packer "Letter From Iraq: The Lesson of Tal Afar," The New Yorker (10 April 06). There also is an on-line slideshow of images by Samantha Appleton.

The lesson? The ideological blindness, incompetence and duplicity of the Bush Administration has quite simply hung American servicemen and servicewomen out to dry.

PS: When I wrote the initial post I forgot to include one thing - the administration has left the Iraqis - to whom they are promising "peace and democracy" - out to dry as well. This seemed perhaps too obvious to need saying.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one could expect the Secretary to do anything except support the policy of the President. The gloomy part is that she is probably too busy to learn anything that she doesn't already know. She needs a chance to read the Letters of Gertrude Bell, the political midwife of Iraq.

Dec. 28. 1920: "The Council is aware (of) . . . the vital need of . . . a native army to relieve ours."

Jan. 3, 1921: "the tribes rob and loot all passers by and each man's hand is against his neighbour."

Jan. 22, 1921: "The present Government, which is predominantly Sunni, isn't doing anything to conciliate the Shiahs."

July 31,1921: "Faisal (whom the British were helping to make King) was supremely happy . . . a great Sunni among Sunnis."

Dec. 18, 1922: ". . . Ibn Saud has captured Hayil. . . The conquest . . . will have far-reaching consequences. It will bring Ibb Saud into the theatre of trans-Jordanian politics and probably into the Franco-Syrian vista also - - it's difficult yet to see with what results."

There is no sign that the Secretary has read or thought out the experience of this woman, who died in Bahghad 80 years ago come July. She is not to be condemned, but it is regrettable -- and the country is paying a price -- that she cannot have learned what to tell the President, if he wants to learn.

28 April, 2006 22:24  

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