Friday, November 03, 2006

Iraq Update: Humor Edition, November 06

Let's start off this latest Iraq update with a quick joke.
Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?
Next we seen that veterans are finally laughing in the faces of "Stay the Course"-ites.
PALMETTO -- Republican Vern Buchanan was interrupted by laughter during a debate before a group of veterans Thursday when he insisted that the White House has a strategy for the war in Iraq.


Buchanan had objected to Jennings' repeating her frequent charge that the Bush administration doesn't have a strategy for winning the war.

"But there is a strategy and it needs to be flexible," he said.

Some of the veterans started chuckling, and Buchanan had to stop speaking after telling them that he expected the White House would adopt a more flexible strategy.

"I was pretty surprised that there was such a reaction," said Jennings, noting that the audience was asked before the debate to hold applause or any other responses until the end of the debate.

[full story]


And if that's not good enough to make you laugh, let's not forget the latest from our Comedian-in-Chief.
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (Reuters) - President George W. Bush challenged Democrats on Friday to offer their plan for winning in Iraq as he swept across Republican strongholds in the U.S. heartland to try to help his party's candidates survive on Election Day.

Encouraging audience participation from thousands of Republican loyalists at a rally, Bush said Democrats should be asked, "What's your plan?" for winning in Iraq and a host of other national security issues separating the parties.

"What's your plan?" the audience yelled back.

"Truth is the Democrats can't answer that question," he said. "Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory."

[full story]

Umm, I hate to have to point this out, but the first step of the "Democrat Plan" is to fire Donald Rumsfeld. Bush has already refused to do why continue giving suggestions that will be ignored?

You know what a good sign of an idiot is?  Short and selective memory.

After reading Kerry's comments to a GOP audience in Georgia, Bush said Kerry's statement was "insulting and it is shameful. The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology." The White House tipped off the networks to when Bush would attack Kerry, so the comments could be carried live and make the evening news.
[full story]

Now we'll head to Iraq itself for a bit and see how things are going.  If you haven't been following this stuff...let's just pick one word..."worse".

BAGHDAD Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki put himself at odds with the American government that backs him on Wednesday, distancing himself from the American notion of a timetable for stabilizing Iraq and criticizing an American-backed raid on a Shiite militia enclave.

Speaking in Baghdad just hours before President Bush gave a news conference in Washington, Maliki tailored his remarks for his own domestic audience, reassuring the millions of Shiites who form his power base that he would not bend to pressure by the American government over how to conduct internal Iraqi affairs.

His comments stood in stark contrast to the message given on Tuesday by the two top American officials in Iraq, General George W. Casey Jr. and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who said the timetable for political measures was one the Iraqi government had accepted.


Maliki's stance differs sharply from views presented by American officials, who speak of Shiite death squads as an evil equal to that of the Sunni Arab insurgents. But it fits snugly inside the circle of hardening Shiite sentiment that the American military, in keeping full control of security, has not given the Iraqi government full powers to intervene when Sunni militias or insurgents carry out sectarian cleansing.

"Most of the officials feel like their hands are tied," said one Shiite politician, who asked not to be identified because the topic was sensitive. "They can't take critical decisions at critical times."

The politician cited the example of Saab al-Bour, a largely Shiite town with Sunni Arab outskirts northwest of Baghdad, from which hundreds of Shiite families have fled in the past month after attacks by Sunni insurgents. Shiites were "crying for help," he said, but the government could not come to their aid because of confusion over which country's troops were responsible for the area.

Americans have held onto control over security partly because they do not trust that Iraqi forces are up to the job. They also fear selective enforcement by the government in favor of Shiites, who form a large part of Iraq's security forces, particularly its police, whose ranks are infiltrated by militias.

[full story]

BTW, this new "timeline" mentioned above is a much needed change in strategy from the Administration, and one I advocated a couple of years ago.  They still haven't figured out the "conditional" part, but they'll probably get around to it at some point after floundering in the dark for another year or so.

That is...if "Iraq" still exists a year from now.  There have already been calls and legislation proposed to split Iraq into a 3-autonomous section Republic.   It has a good bit of support from the Kurds and the Shia, but isn't liked by the Sunnis or the Americans.

Regardless, we have a new indcation of how bad things have gotten since the Shia started fighting back via a powerpoint slide leaked to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 -- A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.


The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an "Index of Civil Conflict." It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.

In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy's fighting strength and the control of territory.

The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from "peace," an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked "chaos." As depicted in the command's chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.

[full story]

If you take a look at the chart, you'll see one of the biggest issues and the most obvious conundrums about the situation.  On the one hand, the U.S. is counting on the Iraqi Army and Police "standing up" to take over the fight against the militias and insurgency.  The problem?  The Iraqi Army and Police are the militias, and, to a lesser degree, the insurgency.   Both are horribly infiltrated.  So our best hope is rotten to the core.

And speaking of rotten to the core, here's Something Awful's take on the next evolution of military recruiting (done under the guise of public service)

When [the messaging] started again this August I resolved to put a stop to it the only way I knew how: become a nuisance to the school teacher until he or she got the new tech support guy to uninstall MSN. That meant somehow making the teacher think leaving MSN installed on the computer was a bad idea. I didn't really want to get arrested for exposing the kids to porno links or, god forbid, just ask them to uninstall it. I decided on the much more patriotic course of changing my MSN name to Sergeant Haymaker and posing as a particularly unethical recruiter for the United States Marine Corps.
[full story]

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