Lying bastard Giuliani, pt 1
A No-Win Situation
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: August 31, 2004
"Everyone wants to go to Baghdad; real men want to go to Tehran." That was the attitude in Washington two years ago, when Ahmad Chalabi was assuring everyone that Iraqis would greet us with flowers. More recently, some of us had a different slogan: "Everyone worries about Najaf; people who are really paying attention worry about Ramadi."
Ever since the uprising in April, the Iraqi town of Falluja has in effect been a small, nasty Islamic republic. But what about the rest of the Sunni triangle?
Last month a Knight-Ridder report suggested that U.S. forces were effectively ceding many urban areas to insurgents. Last Sunday The Times confirmed that while the world's attention was focused on Najaf, western Iraq fell firmly under rebel control. Representatives of the U.S.-installed government have been intimidated, assassinated or executed.
Other towns, like Samarra, have also fallen to insurgents. Attacks on oil pipelines are proliferating. And we're still playing whack-a-mole with Moktada al-Sadr: his Mahdi Army has left Najaf, but remains in control of Sadr City, with its two million people. The Christian Science Monitor reports that "interviews in Baghdad suggest that Sadr is walking away from the standoff with a widening base and supporters who are more militant than before."
For a long time, anyone suggesting analogies with Vietnam was ridiculed. But Iraq optimists have, by my count, already declared victory three times. First there was "Mission Accomplished" - followed by an escalating insurgency. Then there was the capture of Saddam - followed by April's bloody uprising. Finally there was the furtive transfer of formal sovereignty to Ayad Allawi, with implausible claims that this showed progress - a fantasy exploded by the guns of August.
Now, serious security analysts have begun to admit that the goal of a democratic, pro-American Iraq has receded out of reach. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies - no peacenik - writes that "there is little prospect for peace and stability in Iraq before late 2005, if then."
Mr. Cordesman still thinks (or thought a few weeks ago) that the odds of success in Iraq are "at least even," but by success he means the creation of a government that "is almost certain to be more inclusive of Ba'ath, hard-line religious, and divisive ethnic/sectarian movements than the West would like." And just in case, he urges the U.S. to prepare "a contingency plan for failure."
Does this sound like we're winning the war on terra?
According to serial adulterer Rudy Giuliani, yes.
Procession of Speakers Invoke Bush's Leadership After 9/11
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: August 31, 2004
The Republican Party opened its convention yesterday with a searing evocation of the Sept. 11 attacks that leveled the World Trade Center three years ago, as former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York asserted that Senator John Kerry did not have the fortitude to lead the nation through a war on terror.
A procession of speakers - including a former New York City police commissioner, the current mayor of New York and a former terrorism prosecutor - invoked Mr. Bush's leadership after Sept. 11, 2001, in the city where the attacks took their greatest toll to recount the tragedy that the president's aides view as the linchpin to his re-election. Three relatives of victims of the terrorist attacks, standing before the words "September 11, 2001" beamed in white on the darkened stage behind them, paid quiet tribute to their lost ones, as television cameras showed delegates, bathed in deep blue light, weeping.
Mr. Giuliani, who was in the final months of his second term when the two planes rammed the towers, went even further, combining a withering attack on Mr. Kerry's record and character with a description of his first hours at ground zero, and Mr. Bush's visit there three days later, that at times left Republicans gathered in Madison Square Garden listening in stunned silence.
"Yes, people in public office at times change their minds, or realize that they are wrong - I have, others have - when they realize they are wrong or circumstances change,'' Mr. Giuliani said. "But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception." [Excerpts, Page P10; video, nytimes.com.]
"The contrasts are dramatic," Mr. Giuliani continued. "They involve very different views of how to deal with terrorism. President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront, or run the risk of confronting it, here in New York or Chicago. John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence he'll pursue such a determined, difficult course."
I'll do a more detailed response later. I'll be back at the Tank Wednesday, I'll work from home today.
posted by Steve @ 1:08:00 AM