"Iraq situation gets worse -- very loudly"

Not a whole lot of news was out today, but there was this excellent article posted in the Oregonian about how the Bush administration would like to keep Iraq quiet:

People have claimed that the Bush Iraq policy is mostly wishful thinking, but there's always been one thing very solid about it:

Keeping just how much trouble we're in quiet until Nov. 2.

But these days, it seems that part of the policy is no more successful than the rest of it. Over the past weeks, the failure of the Bush Iraq policy has become so inescapable that even John Kerry has noticed it, and started talking about what was always the 800-pound gorilla -- or rather, guerrilla -- in the middle of this campaign.

And Kerry's just repeating what a growing group of Republican senators -- and a lot of other people -- have been publicly admitting.

...Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the Iraq situation was "beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous."

The next day Hagel told reporters that the worst thing Americans could do is "hold ourselves hostage to some grand illusion we're winning. Right now we're not winning. Things are getting worse.

"Measure that by any measurement you want -- more casualties, more deaths, more pipeline sabotage. You pick the measurement standard and it's worse than it was six months ago, or 12 months ago. But it's not over."

As Hagel suggests, Americans can hope that things will somehow improve. But that's not the direction things are going, and after every one of the Bush administration's triumphant declarations -- landing on an aircraft carrier to declare "Mission Accomplished," turning over "sovereignty" to an Iraqi government kept in place only by U.S. troops -- conditions have gotten worse. August saw more attacks on U.S. troops than any previous month, and the areas in Iraq controlled by insurgents are increasing.

Time magazine, this week, finds insurgents patrolling streets in Baghdad, "within mortar range of the U.S. embassy." Last week demonstrated that insurgents can set off car bombs virtually anywhere, killing scores of Iraqis -- and targeting anyone working with U.S. troops, from laundry women to translators.

As Newsweek puts it, "It's worse than you think."

Or, as President Bush prefers to say -- in an expression of amazement Monday that anyone would criticize his record on the subject -- Iraq is enjoying "the hope and security of democracy."

...Now, retired Gen. Joseph Hoare, former Marine commandant and head of the U.S. Central Command, told reporter Sidney Blumenthal, "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options."

Still, even with diminishing control over the country, the Bush administration insists that the goal is elections in Iraq in January.

But first, it has to keep things quiet until U.S. elections in November.

And it's hard to get an explosion to whisper.

Most of this is old news, but it's a well written piece and something that I think everyone should mention to their Republican friends. Not that you should have Republican friends, or that you can change their minds, but it makes some excellent points.

Another excellent story, related, but not entirely:

Senator Joe Biden appearing on CNN tonight got hot on the subject of Iraq during an interview with talking hairdo Paula Zahn.

He attacked Bush's UN speech and what he called Bush's missed opportunity to level with the American people. Biden's genuine rage at Bush's disingenuous, lame-brained, phony optimism transcended Zahn's usual line of needling, faintly pro-Bush, anti-Kerry questions. Biden's passion was genuine. He put the focus on the life-or-death struggle in Iraq, moving it away from the political horserace. Without directly ripping Zahn a new one, he ripped her a new one--while laying waste to Bush's obfuscations on a vital issue costing the lives of young American servicemen and women every day, to say nothing of scores of innocent Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire.

...ZAHN: Senator ... can you explain to us tonight why John Kerry has the numbers he has when it comes to the public trust ... vs. the president to control the situation in Iraq? They have much greater faith in the president than they do in John Kerry.
BIDEN: You know, I know this is going to sound corny to you. That's above my pay grade. That's about politics. I'm talking about substance. I don't care what John Kerry's number is. I care about the kids that we have sitting over there. I don't give a damn whether John Kerry wins or loses or George Bush wins or loses. All I know is, this entire program to try to win the peace in Iraq is, in fact, going down the drain, because the president keeps saying stay the course, instead of change the course ...

ZAHN: Senator, final question for you, is a civil war all but inevitable in Iraq?
BIDEN: Absolutely not inevitable, if we move now ... But if we continue to -- quote -- "stay the course," Katie bar the door. Who knows what's going to exist in January.

Joe Biden isn't the greatest Senator ever, but he certainly would get my vote after an impasioned, bi-partison, truthful rant like the one he made against Paula. A+
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