The Bush administration tells us that the ethnic and religious groups in Iraq are not yet involved in a civil war. The New
York Times reported, "Peter W. Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said this week's
violence was the biggest sectarian test for the Iraqis since a car bombing at a Shiite shrine at Najaf in August 2003; in that
attack, at least 80 people were killed, including Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, the most prominent Shiite cleric
cooperating with American military forces. 'What the extremists are trying to do is to foment civil war,' Mr. Rodman said.
'But we don't see it. We don't see them succeeding.'" He needs glasses.
Thousands of Iraqis, primarily Shiites, have been killed over the last two years, many by suicide bombers and car
bombs. The media has begun reporting on paramilitary death squads that have targeted Sunnis.
Now, in apparent reprisal for last week's explosion at one of the holiest Shiite mosques — the gold-domed mosque in
Samarra — at least 379 Iraqis have been killed, many of them taken from their homes or off buses and summarily executed in
the streets. If this isn't a civil war, what is it? To date, we have lost 2,296 American soldiers with 16,825 wounded, many
In addition to the ongoing civil war between Sunnis and Shiites, Shiites and Sunnis are waging war against U.S. forces
Almost every political figure in Iraq publicly attacks the U.S. presence, demanding we set a timetable to exit. In
private, however, they make sure we know they don't want us to leave immediately, but sometime in the future, like maybe
two years from now. Meanwhile, the Iraqi factions all blame U.S. forces for not protecting them from other Iraqi factions.
Imagine the reaction if American soldiers fired on Sunni or Shiite mobs in the streets of Iraq's cities that are bent on
killing one another. While they have no hesitation about killing one another and destroying each other's mosques, woe unto us
if we were to try to stop the carnage by, for example, firing on a mob advancing on a mosque or a private home intending to
destroy it and those living or praying there.
According to The New York times, President Bush continues to state, "Our strategy in Iraq is that as the Iraqis stand
up, we'll stand down." But the Iraqis are not standing up and based on a just-released Pentagon report entitled "Measuring
Stability and Security in Iraq," "53 Iraqi battalions were able to take the lead in place of Americans in the battle against
terrorists and insurgents, up from 36 three months ago. A battalion in Iraq varies in size, but usually has from several hundred
to 750 troops. But while at least one battalion was said three months ago to have the ability to operate wholly independently
of American forces, that number has fallen to zero."
That's progress? These Iraqi forces have been training for years. Marines are ready for combat in Iraq after 16
weeks of basic training. Is it possible that Iraqi soldiers prefer American soldiers to do the dangerous combat work?
We are more likely to see Godot before we see Iraqi soldiers prepared to engage in combat on their own. The most
shocking aspect of the report is that "Pentagon officials say the new statistics are more in line with the realities of the battlefield,
where even some of the foreign countries [our allies] that supply troops to Iraq cannot function without American support."
Most of our NATO allies refuse to join the war effort. Of the few who do, apparently some can't even function on
their own in combat. And we are planning, according to Pentagon statements, to reduce our forces, relying on Iraqi forces?
We should get out now, unless our NATO and regional allies agree to share the burdens with us. They know that if we leave,
the civil war will spread and endanger their countries and interests. Then they will be forced to come in and we won't be there.
U.S. State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, according to the Times, recently said about Iraq, "Rather than see a
collapse or a setback, I think in some ways, you can see an affirmation that the approach we've been taking has worked.
You've got political leadership acting together on behalf of the common good, and you've got security forces demonstrating
that capability and a responsibility as a national entity that we've been working to develop and that has now bee put to the test
and, I think, is proving successful."
Adding to the misinformation coming from the White House, The Times reported the following, "Top aides at the
White House, the Pentagon and the State Department all expressed the hope that the new violence did not portend civil war in
Iraq. They found it in evidence that all sides were appealing for restraint, even the firebrand Moktada al-Sadr in Baghdad."
What are these guys smoking?
Remember, Moktada's militias are regularly killing Sunnis while they are targeting American soldiers as occupiers, and
the Sunnis, rather than appreciating our efforts to protect them and bring them into the national government, are denouncing us
and seeking every day to blow up our soldiers on the roads with IEDs (improvised explosive devices). If it weren't all so
deadly and harmful to the U.S. and our national interests, particularly as regards our ability to confront an even more dangerous
Iran, one would think this is a farce. Only this is deadly stuff.