First, a graphic that includes no surprises. (via Mathew Gross)
Then, a CIA report that includes no surprises. The NYTimes' Douglas Jehl writes:
A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials.(via Anti-war)
The cable, sent late last month as the officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq.
And Hamid Karzai thanked the United States for ridding his country of terrorists. Right--and deleted e-mails just disappear completely.
Meanwhile, even in my early-morning inadequately caffeinated state I can see a connection between the Iraq action and this.
Yet we are still saddled with this schmoe. Interesting assessments here and here.
All of which to say I suppose it is no surprise that we can say ta-ta to the hearts and minds.
You know, I really really try to get my head around the thinking behind policies with which I do not agree. I figure, hey, these people have to be smart to have gotten where they are, and although I don't always share their motivations, I seriously doubt they are evil.
For instance, I am trying desperately to understand how the Social Security reform that seems to be Item A1 on W's agenda makes fiscal sense: explain to me again how a trillion-dollar increase in the deficit bails out a program? I acknowledge that I do not always get the nuances of these things. Like if it is "security" then perhaps it does not need to be more than a minimum amount, a bare-bones figure, instead of an attempt to keep someone "secure" at the level to which they are accustomed? And when income over 60K does not get taxed for Social Security anyway? But I never studied economics, and I understand that perhaps this makes sense. Perhaps.
But I find it harder and harder to understand how the US approach to Iraq could be so WRONG--how the so-called experts could simply have misgauged this one. Granted--I do not expect success from plunking down a democratic system in a country that has not experienced one and that may not possess the 18th-C enlightenment mindset that produced our own democratic system. No idea can solve every problem on earth.
But how did this one get so colossally bollocksed up? And given our current political climate in which there is no room for dissent, is there a point to reading the papers? But I suppose David Rees hit that one better than I can.
Forgive me: I'll be back when I have something to offer other than wallowing despair.