Taking a look around the infosphere…we’ve got a lot of people saying a lot of different things about Iraq.

The most surprising comes from Charles Schumer, who says that Iraq will not be the focus of the 2008 elections

In place of promises for a new tone in Washington or a focus on such issues as climate change and war, he recommends the bread-and-butter politics of cereal prices, discount air fares and tuition tax credits. Those are items he has typically rolled out at the Sunday news conferences that Schumer has made into an institution. They also, until quite recently, drew a measure of scorn from the press and from his congressional colleagues.

My guess…it’ll be health care.


I see that McCain has finally woken up out of his SOTU slumber and is talking about benchmarks for Iraq

McCain, an Arizona Republican, said he will propose benchmarks for Iraq’s government to meet as part of the new push, and he also will seek to increase congressional oversight of the war. […]

“There is a legitimate concern about the lack of congressional oversight, about sending Gen. [David] Petraeus there saying we don’t approve of his mission,” he said.

And yet…

He offered no details of his “embryonic” proposal, but he said those steps “might be a way of calming the concerns that many of our colleagues have.”

We shall see…


Nancy Pelosi fires a shot across the bi-partisan bow and reveals that Bush never talked to her about his new Iraq plan, but did reveal why it would work…

In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president’s minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new “way forward” for U.S. forces in Iraq.

“He’s tried this two times â€â€? it’s failed twice,” the California Democrat said. “I asked him at the White House, ‘Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?’ And he said, ‘Because I told them it had to.’ ”

Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, ” ‘I told them that they had to.’ That was the end of it. That’s the way it is.”

Could this surge be a faith-based intiative? Only time will tell…


The New York Sun has some good news from Iraq in an article that claims many insurgent groups are running out of steam and only the groups controlled by Al Qaeda are going strong…

The wider Sunni insurgency � the groups beyond Al Qaeda � is being slowly, and surely, defeated. The average insurgent today feels demoralized, disillusioned, and hunted. Those who have not been captured yet are opting for a quieter life outside of Iraq. Al Qaeda continues to grow for the time being as it cannibalizes the other insurgent groups and absorbs their most radical and hardcore fringes into its fold. The Baathists, who had been critical in spurring the initial insurgency, are becoming less and less relevant, and are drifting without a clear purpose following the hanging of their idol, Saddam Hussein. Rounding out this changing landscape is that Al Qaeda itself is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces.

In other words, battling the insurgency now essentially means battling Al Qaeda. This is a major accomplishment.

And by the way…that’s a damn good article about the realities on the ground in Iraq. Definitely read the whole thing.

That’s your Iraq roundup. Enjoy.

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  1. Maybe you should do the two minutes of research necessary to inform your readers that the NY Sun article was written by the former research director for Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, a guy who was also deeply involved in Chalabi’s early de-Baathification program.

    It is hard to imagine a less credible source.

  2. I don’t know how much I would trust the opinion article you cite from the NY Sun. In this blog, you cited an article from the Guardian, where it was reported that the Sunni insurgency was demoralized but was looking for a means to cease fighting against the US, and turn its attention exclusively on the Shiites.

    The above seems to suggest that al Qaeda is growing in strength, whereas most reports I think, have tended to state the opposite, mainly, that even Sunni insurgent groups are actively fighting al Qaeda in Iraq as a means of reaching out to the US. The article, also seems to be of the “insurgency is in the last throes” type of article, and we know how those predictions have turned out. I’d put my money on the Sunni’s trying to make a deal with US forces and then focusing exclusively on the Shiites leading to far more violence while al Qaeda recedes into the background as more and more Sunnis turn their backs on it.

  3. An interesting comment from an editor at the WAPO:

    On Tuesday nearly every member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warmly endorsed Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, and a number wished him success or “Godspeed” in his mission. Yesterday some of the same senators voted for a resolution that opposes the increase of troops for Gen. Petraeus’s commandâ€â€?even though the general testified that he could not accomplish his mission without the additional forces and hinted that such a resolution could encourage the enemy. Such is the muddle of Congress on Iraq: A majority may soon go on record opposing the new offensive in Baghdad even while encouraging the commander who leads it.

    Marc Schulman at Americanfuture.net says:

    I suspect foreign governments, be they friend or foe, are shaking their heads in disbelief at a Congress that wishes Petraeus good luck, while at the same time acting to reduce the chances that his luck will be good.

    What happens if the surge is successful in pacifying bagdad by 2008? My suspicion is that the media will still be reporting “endless Sunni/Shia conflict” or “growing animosity towards the war in Iraq.” An antiwar democrat might win because of it, and when he/she enters office, and since Iraq will be able to stand on its own, The democrat president will withdraw the rest of the troops immediately and take all the credit for “ending the republican’s nightmare in Iraq.”

    Anti war democrats hope the surge works, but late enough in the game that they can still win because of a perception of Bush’s failure, but early enough so that the mess is solved before they have to make any tough decisions about the war.


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