Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bush as Clouseau

p m carpenter's commentary on the situation in Basra:

Maybe Dick only meant to say that Basra is in the last throes of things going pretty well, because the less tendentious view is that the city is imploding from "the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors."

That, anyway, is how the International Crisis Group looks at it. And given Mr. Cheney's rather chronic case of the wrongs, I believe I'll go with the ICG.

Up to a point, that is. Because in addition to its above assessment of mayhem and carnage, the ICG, as reported by the Washington Post, "described Iran, Britain and the United States as equally confused about what is happening in Basra."

Now hold it right there. Other nations may possess more resources, others more history, and still others more cultural traditions; but when it comes to confusion, the Bush administration bows to no country.

The administration's obliviousness to Basra's deteriorating situation reminds me of Inspector Clouseau's analytical powers -- especially the classic scene in which the unobservant detective devotes all his attention to berating a posturing blind man for packing around an "unlicensed minkey," while the cohorts of the imposter -- who's actually a look-out man -- are robbing the nearby bank.

And it's not just Basra, for its implications elsewhere are devastating: "The current U.S. security operation to 'clear, hold and build' in Baghdad and its surroundings is almost a replica of Operation Sinbad, which British and Iraqi forces conducted in Basra from September 2006 to March of this year with a mission of 'clear, hold and civil reconstruction.'"

Hence our continued presence is merely a waiting game for the bad guys -- a farce being played out with deadly predictability. As one U.S. intelligence official candidly framed it: "The British have basically been defeated in the south."

And this comes after the Brits' oft-touted "victory" in the south, which we'll soon be told we're achieving in Baghdad.

I guess the Brits figured out they were assigned to the part of Iraq without any oil and decided to leave before they had to admit defeat.

Defeat for Cheney and Bush will be if we have to leave without a lock on the oil. They will gladly kill thousands more U.S. troops in their heroic effort for Big Oil's bottom line.

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