"The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
Good News: Sunni Arab tribal forces of the Dulaimi tribe chose yesterday to fight the international Jihadis to protect an enclave of Shia residents in the "triangle" city of Ramadi. These were TRIBAL forces and not those of the Shia dominated government. In an interesting development, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, who were always the most earnest supporters of the idea of a unified Iraqi state, have become the de facto defenders of the continuation of that idea. The Kurds want out, and would go all the way out if they could manage it. The Shia, especially the religious and Iran inclined Shia, would like to rule an Iraq united under Shia Islam, but the more sober Shia types are beginning to see that if the present process continues, then the Sunni dominated north-center and desert west will be within the de jure border of Iraq, but essentially ungovernable. In that light the initiative of the Dulaimi in exerting themselves to make sure that "their rules" prevail in their part of the country probably points to "future history."
Not So Good News: The Wright story in the WashPost represents opinion in the Defense Department and other parts of the government. It does not represent the opinion of the president, vice-president, NSC, nor the Jacobins (in and out of government). There is now a deep split in the government between: 1- those who see disaster looming for the armed forces and American "clout" in the region and world, and 2 – the ideologues (and the ignorant) who insist that all is well and that the constitutional process in Iraq will produce a document so wise and so balanced that it will deprive the insurgencies of the material support now provided by some segment of the Sunni Arab population. It is only lately that the more reasonable members and supporters of the administration’s policy have begun to admit what has been obvious from the beginning, which is that the nationalist insurgents (at the least) have a lot of popular support. Charles Krauthammer, an intelligent and usually forthright man, said so today on Fox News Suday, while Bill Cristol, sitting beside him, continued to deny this obvious fact. The incoherence of Cristol’s argument may indicate some internal trepidation over the truth.
The US Military wants out. The force will do its duty no matter what and understands its obligations to the US Constitution and civilian control of foreign policy. The troops, when questioned in the field, will always say, "we are in the fight," and they are. God bless Them! Nevertheless, as has been said elsewhere this week, the officer corps is mindful of the fate and future of the military’s institutions, and it now believes that those institutions are at risk if the war is continued at the present over all force levels in the Armed Forces and with the delusional ideas of a "Minister of War" like Donald Rumsfeld who is distorting the future shape of the US Army into a light weapons force, deprived of the kind of artillery, armor and aviation support on which it has relied and without the "in depth" logistical abilities needed to fight the extended campaigns implied by Jacobin foreign policy.