Thursday, December 08, 2005

Successful Rebuilding!

I was going to write a spiffy intro to this post, but Froomkin did it for me already:

Dan Froomkin:
Some American journalists intent on fact-checking President Bush's vision of Iraq are finding it too dangerous to inspect the areas Bush yesterday cited as models of success.
Which sort of tells you the story right there. But Jim Maceda of NBC news, blogging from Iraq fills in some details:

Many of us raised our eyebrows during President Bush's speech on Iraq to the Council on Foreign Relations.
That he chose Najaf, the ancient Shiite town in the South, and Mosul, the divided, dangerous city in the North, as examples of positive economic change only underscores - for those of us on the ground - just how bad things are elsewhere in the country.
He notes there is some progress in these areas, but due mostly to policing by radical shiite militias.
But the Iraqi police are heavy-handed, and are backed up by both the Iranian-supported Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army, the militia that defends the maverick cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Swell. You remember Muqtada al-Sadr. The nut-bar shiite cleric? Sounds like you are perfectly safe in the area's outlined by long as you're fundamentalist Shiite. Wasn't al-Sadr shooting American's awhile back? Why the cooperation now?
Many experts think that authorities in Najaf are just milking the USAID and Army Corps of Engineers for all the projects they can get, on the long road to their Shiite Islamic nation.

And we remember what happened to the darling of the Bush Administration - former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi - when he paid a campaign visit to Najaf earlier this week: his entourage was assaulted by stone and shoe-throwing crowds.

Some bodyguards saw knives and guns being drawn. Allawi himself called it an assassination attempt. It doesn't augur well for U.S. policy in Iraq if one of its poster boys just escapes from Najaf with his life.
Why buy the cow when the milk's free?

And Mosul?
To be fair, Bush did mention the kidnappings and militias in Najaf. But it’s even worse in Mosul.

In fact, it's misleading to speak of progress in Mosul - there are two Mosuls. The Kurdish East Mosul, and Arab West Mosul.

Much of the reconstruction occurs in the U.S.-friendly East. While the Arab side of Mosul is rife with improvised explosive devices (IED's), kidnappings, snipers and remains a magnet for Islamic militants, former Baathists, and Arab nationalists.

It's also a way station for insurgents crossing into Iraq from nearby Syria. Just voting in the upcoming election will be risky for the citizens of Mosul, much less rebuilding the city.
If this is progress, you've got to wonder how bad it really was? And the rest of Iraq? It's a mess. Attacks continue, projects blown up, IED's on heavily traveled roads, sparse electrical and sewer service.

Bush keeps trying to put lipstick on that pig. I'm not buying it. But just watch. Some in our stellar mainstream media will find a project, give it three columns or thirty seconds on cable news, and call it freedom!


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