Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Occupation of Iraq - Nobody Likes It

NYT video - Rethinking the War

Midwest Towns Sour on War as Their Tolls Mount

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 14, 2007; Page A01

TIPTON, Iowa -- This farming town in Cedar County buried Army Spec. Aaron Sissel during the Iraq war's ninth month. It buried Army Spec. David W. Behrle during the 51st. Along the way, as a peaceable community's heart sank, its attitude toward President Bush and his Iraq strategy turned more personal and more negative.

Sissel and Behrle were popular young sons of Tipton, a community of 3,100 where anonymity is an impossibility. Sissel bagged groceries at the supermarket and often bowled at Cedar Lanes. Behrle served, just two years ago, as Tipton High's senior class president and commencement speaker.

The town, by all accounts, once gave Bush the benefit of the doubt for a war he said would make America safer and a mission he said was accomplished four years before Behrle died. But funeral by funeral, faith in the president and his project to remake Iraq is ebbing away. ...

Bush says give the Occupation more time; but as the most vacationing President in history, his arguments aren't very convincing. His disrespect for the Iraqi government isn't winning him any points either (of course Bush never has demonstrated an understanding of the term sovereignty).

Iraq Can Handle Security, Premier Says

But Maliki Acknowledges That His Forces Need More Troops, Training, Weapons

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 15, 2007; Page A19

BAGHDAD, July 14 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi military and police are capable of maintaining security "any time" the Americans want to leave the country. ...

The only thing Bush seems to be putting any real energy into is finding someone to blame for his failures:

Bush Leans On Petraeus as War Dissent Deepens
General Set Up as Scapegoat, Some Say Washington Post Staff Writer

With opposition to Bush's Iraq strategy escalating on Capitol Hill, the president has sought, at least rhetorically, to transfer some of the burden of an unpopular war to his top general in Baghdad, wielding Petraeus as a shield against a growing number of congressional doubters. In speeches and meetings, the president has implored his critics to wait until September, when Petraeus is scheduled to deliver a much-anticipated assessment of the U.S. mission in Iraq. ...

... Some of Petraeus's military comrades worry that the general is being set up by the Bush administration as a scapegoat if conditions in Iraq fail to improve. "The danger is that Petraeus will now be painted as failing to live up to expectations and become the fall guy for the administration," one retired four-star officer said. ...

... When Bush and his aides shift military strategy, they seem to turn on the generals on whom they once relied publicly, said Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon official. During the run-up to the war, when Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff, told Congress that more troops were needed to secure Iraq, he was publicly rebuked by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. ...

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