Conservatives have a print and net publican called The Weekly Standard. That Standard is quire low, woefully uninformed or willfully ignorant. Let’s assume that many of their readers look to the publication as all Conservative publications to reinforce their preconceived world views rather then actual information. Year after year the truth and facts do seem to have a liberal bias and we all know from the WMD Cheerleading Squad that facts are the low on their list of values. Editor Michael Goldfarb is of course deeply serious about de wer on terrur. He must have gotten his definition of serious off the back of one of Dick Cheney’s four deferments because he doesn’t seem to know anything about the various factions in Iraq. If Iraq is the front in the de wer on terrur. In his interpretation of Senator Obama’s appearance on Fox today; Mike and his shape as a tack instincts have pounced on Obama for what else, intruding the lies that the Weakly Standard have been spreading for years, More Obama on FNS, Posted by Michael Goldfarb on April 27, 2008 04:15 PM
Yes. I think Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq. I think as a practical matter, obviously that’s where most of the attention has been devoted from this administration over the last several years. (Obama)
I was also a big respecter of Admiral Fallon, who Petraeus is now replacing and I think it was unfortunate that the administration wasn’t listening more to the observations of Fallon that we have to think about more than just Iraq. That we’ve got issues with Iran and Pakistan and Afghanistan and our singular focus on Iraq I think has distracted us.
My hope is that Petraeus would reflect that wider view of our strategic interests.
Obama has no choice but to pretend that Iraq is a tactical sideshow with little relevance to our broader conflict against Islamic extremism. This is why he praises the ‘good tactical job’ Petraeus has done in Iraq but in the same breath falsely asserts that the general hasn’t viewed Iraq in the ‘wider view of our strategic interests.’ Though ignored by most in the media, just two weeks ago Petraeus explained, in his opening congressional testimony, how Iraq fits into our broader conflict with al Qaeda and why success there will strike a significant blow against Islamic extremism:
As we combat AQI we must remember that doing so not only reduces a major source of instability in Iraq, it also weakens an organization that Al Qaeda’s senior leaders view as a tool to spread its influence and foment regional instability. Osama bin laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri have consistently advocated exploiting the situation in Iraq, and we have also seen Al Qaeda-Iraq involved in destabilizing activities in the wider Mideast region.
The problem(s) with Mikies razor sharp analysis is there was no AQ in Iraq until Bush invaded based on a litany of trumped up lies that would embarrass anyone with a conscience. Since the occupation, AQ’s role in the violence has always been minor compared with the violence committed by homegrown sectarians, and ultra nationalists,
To describe AQI’s presence, intelligence experts cite a spectrum of estimates, ranging from 8 percent to 15 percent. The fact that such “a big window” exists, says Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, indicates that “[those experts] really don’t have a very good perception of what is going on.”
[ ]…The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which arguably has the best track record for producing accurate intelligence assessments, last year estimated that AQI’s membership was in a range of “more than 1,000.” When compared with the military’s estimate for the total size of the insurgency—between 20,000 and 30,000 full-time fighters—this figure puts AQI forces at around 5 percent. When compared with Iraqi intelligence’s much larger estimates of the insurgency—200,000 fighters—INR’s estimate would put AQI forces at less than 1 percent.
The Weakly Standard is not much more then a fax machine for the Bush administration. Thus one major reason that Bush has been occupying Iraq longer then it took Roosevelt to win two major wars on two fronts is that Bush has as much knowledge about the real source of instability in Iraq as Mikey does. Iraq in the delusional minds of Conservatives like Goldfarb is the Holt Grail, the Great Wall, The Golden Compass of Islamic associated terrorism. What was the most secular country in the Middle-East, run by Baathists who hated Sunni fundamentalist, with a population mostly composed on Shiia who also hated AQ. If Conservatives win the Whitehouse we’ll continue to make any real political progress in Iraq because McCain has the same screw ball ideas about what it means to fight actual terrorists. For all their chest thumping rhetoric about being tough and serious Conservatives have proved over and over again that they don’t understand Middle-East terrorism or what to do about it.
As for General Petraeus. he is proof that it is possible to be a smart general while at the same time being a political hack. That fact has been well established. Which accounts for why Weakly didn’t mention what any other generals think about Iraq.
The chart below is for the Bushiviks and McSames that can’t seem to wrap their brains around the most rudimentary facts about the Middle-East. The full chart is here.
Strife and Power in the Middle-East adapted from NYT/Charney