Saturday, May 21, 2005

GEORGE W. BUSH may continue to believe and insist that "freedom is on the march" in Iraq, but U.S. military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan think otherwise. The Christian Science Monitor's Terrorism and Security report does a roundup of the media coverage on this story.

US military commanders from both Iraq and Afganistan, in a series of briefings and interviews over the past week, gave downbeat assessments of the situations in both countries. The New York Times reports that the generals "pulled back" from predictions made earlier this year that the US would be able to substantially reduce its troop level by early 2006.

One general said that the US would be in Iraq and Afghanistan for "many years to come."

Another senior officer in Baghdad, speaking to the Times on condition of anonymity, said unless the new Iraq government gives Iraqis something to believe in, the US mission in Iraq could collapse.
In an analysis piece for the The Washington Times, Martin Seiff, United Press International senior news analyst, says that it was a "bad week" for US policy in Iraq. Not only did you have the US military saying that troops would be in the region for years, but the new government of Iraq gave a warm welcome to the Iranian foreign minister.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the visit by the Iranian foreign minister "underscored a US policy dilemma in Iraq."
'You've got two different trajectories, and I don't think the Americans have come to this realization,' says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, contacted in Tehran. 'The Americans have hard power in Iraq, but the Iranians have soft power, and they are able to do things. It is a much more subtle influence than the Americans.'
We're waist-deep in the Big Muddy; the big fool says to push on.

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