Good analysis today in the Washington Post that cuts through all the rosy scenario nonsense coming from the Bush administration and gives us the cold hard truth about the situation in Iraq.
While Bush and Vice President Cheney offer optimistic assessments of the situation, a fresh wave of car bombings and other attacks killed 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis last month alone and prompted Iraqi leaders to appeal to the administration for greater help. Privately, some administration officials have concluded the violence will not subside through this year.
I like how no one in the adminstration will level with us on the record, but privately, and off the record, they are letting us know that Bush is full of it.
The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.
Watch out! Here comes some more off the record revelations...
Military commanders in Iraq privately told a visiting congressional delegation last week that the United States is at least two years away from adequately training a viable Iraqi military but that it is no longer reasonable to consider augmenting U.S. troops already strained by the two-year operation, said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.). "The idea that the insurgents are on the run and we are about to turn the corner, I did not hear that from anybody," Biden said in an interview.
But,wait! That's according to Sen. Biden, a Democrat. Why should we believe him? Well, there is also the Republican Congressman saying the same thing...
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who joined Biden for part of the trip, said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others are misleading Americans about the number of functional Iraqi troops and warned the president to pay more attention to shutting off Syrian and Iranian assistance to the insurgency. "We don't want to raise the expectations of the American people prematurely," he said.
So Rumsfeld and others are "misleading Americans" about the number of Iraqi troops. That's a pretty serious charge and its coming from a Republican.
And here is another Republican with not much good to say when asked to comment on Bush and Cheney's neverending stream of rosy updates...
"I cannot say with any confidence that that is accurate," said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), a member of the House International Relations Committee. "I think it's impossible to know how close we are to the insurgency being overcome."
Our military is already strained to the limits and it may take another two years to get things to a point where we can pull out without the Iraqi government collapsing like a house of cards.
If this is not a quagmire, then I don't know what the term could possibly mean.