Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lyin' Their Asses Off Again

Here's the premise we're being asked to swallow: Knowing that General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were packing their bags to head to Washington for a congressional grilling, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki decided to send 30,000 Iraqi troops to Basra to destroy Moqtada al-Sadr's militia without telling them a word about it, leaving the Americans totally in the dark until just two days before it began.


You have to be extraordinarily stupid to believe that, even for a minute, and yet now that the biggest Iraqi military action since 2003 has turned into a total, instant shambles, that's the line that Petraeus and Crocker are trying to feed congress.

Okay, how do I know that's a lie? Well, that's easy. It's a little something called "logistics" and it's the essential tedium of any military action. You have to assemble a lot of stuff - food, weapons, toilet paper, medical supplies and soldiers and get them all organized in just the right order - and then you have to assemble in marshalling points the vehicles you'll need to move all those soldiers and all those supplies. 30,000 soldiers is three divisions. It takes a long time to assemble that sort of force and there's no way in hell the Americans wouldn't have been aware of it from the outset. "Gee Sayeed, you've got 5,000 trucks there and all those guys. Going to the beach?"

The United States has about 160,000 soldiers in Iraq. Does anybody not in a coma believe that Maliki could pull this off under their noses? Maliki is a serial incompetent and yet he's going to blindside the Americans with an adventure of this magnitude. Sure.

Former Nixon speechwriter and NYT columnist William Safire was on the Daily Show last night flogging the latest edition of his political dictionary. He mentioned a line Kennedy used after the Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco: "Victory has a thousand fathers, Defeat is an orphan." Was that ever timely!

There's no way top American officials, diplomatic and military, didn't know about this. There's no way they weren't involved in the planning for this. There's no way they weren't instrumental in the execution of this fiasco and there's no way the failure of this stunt doesn't lie every bit as much at their feet as at Maliki's.

Of course the stakes are insanely high on this one. If Petraeus is tarred with the failure that could further undermine confidence in the "surge." It will show that he's accomplished very little and, now, has perhaps even made things irreparably worse. And, he'll have done it just eight months in advance of a presidential election in which the Iraq issue is again moving its way toward the top of the pile.

I don't think these lies will hold up. They're too transparent and facts are already coming out that dispel them. I think the best they can hope for is to ride out the controversy and pray it doesn't get traction with the American voters. It's a big risk but what other choice do they have?

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