Friday, October 06, 2006

The Green Zone Is Not Iraq

Here's more blogger commentary on Rice's visit to Baghdad:

Juan Cole points out that of course her visit was a surprise; they all are:

Rice made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Thursday. (They all have to be surprise visits because otherwise she would be killed while there. As it was, her landing was delayed by mortar fire at the airport). She kept to the new State Department line that the problem in Iraq is the indecision of the Iraqi government. Uh, the US abolished their army and destroyed all their tanks and won't give them new ones. So how is that the fault of the Iraqi government?

Prof. Cole also links to a Reuters AlertNet piece listing Thursday's casualties in Iraq: 61 Iraqis were killed and 52 were wounded on the same day that Condi Rice declared "new signs of progress" in the country.

Waveflux's Philip Barron, posting at Shakespeare's Sister, finds that Condi can't decide whether she wants or doesn't want Iraqis to enjoy politics:

Condoleezza Rice goes back and forth on whether Iraqis should continue to "enjoy politics." Yesterday, the answer was an emphatic no:

"They don't have time for endless debate of these issues," Rice said during a news conference aboard her plane. "They have really got to move forward. That is one of the messages that I'll take, but it will also be a message of support and what can we do to help."

But later in the day, she seemed to have changed her tune:

"What the American people see on their television screens is the struggle," she said. "It is harder to show the political process that is going on at local levels, at provincial levels and indeed at the national level." Iraqis, she said, are "making progress."

Iraqis are confused! Which is it, Dr. Rice?

Finally, Josh White of the WaPo reports that Sen. John Warner also visited Iraq this week -- and had quite a different take on conditions there:

The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday offered a stark assessment of the situation in Iraq after a trip there this week, saying that parts of the country have taken "steps backwards" and that the United States is at risk of losing the campaign to control an increasingly violent Baghdad.

Sen. John W. Warner (Va.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that the Iraqi government is having trouble making strides and is incapable of providing even basic human necessities to people in certain areas of the country. Though Warner praised U.S. efforts to keep Iraq under control, he was far less optimistic about the situation there than he had been over the past three years.
Warner and other senators traveled to Jordan, Iraq and Israel this week to discuss the security situation and to evaluate the progress of the Iraqi government. He said U.S. military commanders believe there is no way to reduce the number of U.S. troops in the region in the foreseeable future because of a steady increase in the level of violence, and he added that it is important to acknowledge the civil insurrection, sectarian violence, "unacceptable level" of killings and "heavy casualties" among U.S. forces there.

Although the WaPo piece doesn't say, I'm guessing that Sen. Warner probably spent at least part of his visit outside of the Green Zone. It's amazing how a simple thing like that can change your perspective.

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