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THE DAY AMERICA'S IRAQ POLICY WAS BLOWN APART (The Independent, London)

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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 09:48 AM
Original message
THE DAY AMERICA'S IRAQ POLICY WAS BLOWN APART (The Independent, London)
Edited on Fri Sep-14-07 09:50 AM by Apollo11
THE INDEPENDENT (London, England) - September 14, 2007

FATAL ATTRACTION

An assassination that blows apart Bush's hopes of pacifying Iraq


Last week George Bush flew into Iraq to meet Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, leader of Anbar province

This week General David Petraeus told the US Congress how Anbar was a model for Iraq

Yesterday Abu Risha was assassinated by bombers in Anbar

By Patrick Cockburn


Ten days after President George Bush clasped his hand as a symbol of America's hopes in Iraq, the man who led the US-supported revolt of Sunni sheikhs against al-Qa'ida in Iraq was assassinated.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards were killed either by a roadside bomb or by explosives placed in his car by a guard, near to his home in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, the Iraqi province held up by the American political and military leadership as a model for the rest of Iraq.

His killing is a serious blow to President Bush and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who have both portrayed the US success in Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US forces, as a sign that victory was attainable across Iraq.

On Monday General Petraeus told the US Congress that Anbar province was "a model of what happens when local leaders and citizens decide to oppose al-Qa'ida and reject its Taliban-like ideology".

But yesterday's assassination underlines that Iraqis in Anbar and elsewhere who closely ally themselves with the US are in danger of being killed. "It shows al-Qa'ida in Iraq remains a very dangerous and barbaric enemy," General Petraeus said in reaction to the killing. But Abu Risha might equally have been killed by the many non al-Qa'ida insurgent groups in Anbar who saw him as betraying them.

(...)

Abu Risha had real support in Anbar, particularly in Ramadi where many people yesterday referred to him as "hero" and expressed sadness at his death.

But President Bush's highly publicised visit to Anbar may well have been Abu Risha's death knell. There are many Sunni who loathe al-Qa'ida, but very few who approve of the US occupation. By giving the impression that Abu Risha was one of America's most important friends, Mr Bush ensured that some of the most dangerous men in the world would try to kill him.

The testimony by General Petraeus to Congress earlier this week has proved effective from the point of view of the White House in establishing the US commander in Iraq as a credible advocate of the administration's military strategy.

But critics of General Petraeus have described him as "a military Paris Hilton" whose celebrity is not matched by his achievements. As commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul in 2003-4 was lauded for re-establishing Iraqi police units only for them to desert or join the insurgents who captured most of the city after the general left.

Read the full article here:
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article...

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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. A recent editorial from the same newspaper
THE INDEPENDENT, September 11, 2007

Leading article: A disgraceful and cynical surge of self-interest


We should not be surprised that the Congressional testimony from General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, yesterday painted an encouraging picture of the situation in the country. General Petraeus was reporting on his own efforts to curb the insurgency in Iraq and evaluating a military approach that he had personally championed. He was never likely to conclude that the surge had failed. And nor was the White House likely to schedule a report of failure to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

(...)

The surge was never truly about stabilising Iraq. The US had already lost the ability to control events on the ground when the troops began to pour in earlier this year. Its primary purpose was to stave off demands from Democrats and some Republicans for a timetable for a US troop withdrawal. This is cynical and disgraceful. But what else can we expect from a military adventure that was formed in a spirit of hubris and carried out in an atmosphere of crashing incompetence and reckless arrogance? The US-led occupation of Iraq is unravelling in the same morally compromised manner in which it began.

Read the full editorial here:
http://comment.independent.co.uk/leading_articles/artic...
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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. A recent column from the same newspaper
THE INDEPENDENT, September 11, 2007

Rupert Cornwell: Democrats are powerless as testimony buys more time for Bush


After weeks of feverish build-up, the general has finally spoken. But even before he opened his mouth yesterday one thing was clear. Whether or not General David Petraeus is correct in asserting that the surge is finally bearing fruit in Iraq, here in Congress, where the domestic argument over the war will be decided, the battle is raging more inconclusively than ever.

(...)

The words of General Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, Washington's envoy in Baghdad, counted as little against the raw arithmetic of Congress. Democrats do not have the 60 votes needed to force a withdrawal timetable through the Senate. In short, the surge will run its course and President Bush will run his war pretty much as he wishes. It will be for his successor, probably a Democrat, to clear up the mess.

Read the full column here:
http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article29...
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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. PS - This went to press before Bush's speech
Because London is 5 hours ahead of Washington.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
4. Chimpy hasn't lost his touch...
<snip>

But President Bush's highly publicised visit to Anbar may well have been Abu Risha's death knell. There are many Sunni who loathe al-Qa'ida, but very few who approve of the US occupation. By giving the impression that Abu Risha was one of America's most important friends, Mr Bush ensured that some of the most dangerous men in the world would try to kill him.

<snip>
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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Everything he touches turns to trouble
or, in a lot of cases, rubble!
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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
6. K&R - I wonder what an independent, critical press would be like in the U.S.A.? (n/t)
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ewoden Donating Member (634 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Ok so what part of the "success" requirement will this represent n/t
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-14-07 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
8. Good article. I hope
that TV watchers in TV land got the message, too.

Failure beyond belief. Just mind-boggling. As the rest of the world watches in disbelief, and shake their heads...
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