Like his nominal boss, and just as delusionally, Vice President Dick Cheney sees the British withdrawal as proof of success in Iraq: “Well, I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well.”
I’m sure the Iraq of Cheney’s wild imagination is a wonderful place where free, armed, and capitalistic Iraqis worship God, America, and Bush — not necessarily in that order — but the real Iraq is an altogether different nightmare. (Besides, Cheney has absolutely no credibility left. Does anyone other than Lynne, Mary, Dubya, Mary Matalin, and theÂ unblinkingly partisan believe anything he has to say about anything anymore? Perhaps some fellow war enthusiasts, but that’s about it.)
And so Juan Cole’s assessment seems right:
This is a rout, there should be no mistake. The fractious Shiite militias and tribes of Iraq’s South have made it impossible for the British to stay. They already left Sadr-controlled Maysan province, as well as sleepy Muthanna. They moved the British consulate to the airport because they couldn’t protect it in Basra. They are taking mortar and rocket fire at their bases every night. Raiding militia HQs has not resulted in any permanent change in the situation. Basra is dominated by 4 paramilitaries, who are fighting turf wars with one another and with the Iraqi government over oil smuggling rights.
Blair is not leaving Basra because the British mission has been accomplished. He is leaving because he has concluded that it cannot be, and that if he tries any further it will completely sink the Labor Party, perhaps for decades to come.
That’s the unpleasant truth hidden behind the happy-go-lucky spin.
For more, see Political Animal, NewsHog, Booman Tribune, Gun Toting Liberal, andÂ Reaction co-bloggerÂ Libby Spencer at The Impolitic.
Andrew Sullivan gets it right, too: “Remember that, according to Cheney, the entire war has been an enormous success so far. My bet is that the phony peace prompted by the surge is designed to give Bush and Cheney a moment around May to say about all of Iraq what Cheney has just said about the south. It’s fine. We won. We’re redeploying. But only the Democrats want to retreat. Remember: the facts in Iraq are irrelevant to Cheney. What matters is domestic politics. And he’s setting himself up for a declaration of victory relatively soon. At least one other person on earth will pretend to believe him.”
Stop the presses! American wins Iraq War!
Yes, you can see it coming.
Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice