Iraq & The Masters Of Disaster
The reason for that, pure and simple, was hubris: The Iraqis would throw flowers at the feet of the conquering American heroes and everything would be hunky dory.
The goodwill thus squandered, which created huge opportunities for the insurgents and sectarian militias who now control much of the country, haunts U.S. troops at every turn in the road, every alleyway and behind every door as they attempt yet again to restore order in Baghdad.Nowhere is consequence of this hubris more evident than in a post-invasion rebuilding effort that never really got off the ground.
Most of the $21 billion in your money (that is if you're a U.S. taxpayer) designated for health clinics, schools and infrastructure repairs has been pissed away because (gasp!) there never was a comprehensive plan for how to use it.That is the not surprising conclusion of a report released this week by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
That leaves $2 billion to be transferred to the Iraqi government as the U.S. phases out its corruption-ridden efforts.
Reports The Washington Post:
As the handoff proceeds, there are questions about exactly what it is the Iraqis will inherit and how a government plagued by corruption can restore confidence in a rebuilding program that has been dogged by corruption allegations from the start.
Bowen's report makes clear that while the rebuilding campaign has achieved some successes, hundreds of jobs remain incomplete and many key projects hang in limbo.
The case is one of several involving alleged unjustified killings of Iraqi civilians that have emerged this year, damaging the military's reputation for humane treatment of civilians and triggering calls by some Iraqi leaders to end the arrangement under which U.S. troops are immune from prosecution by Iraqi authorities.
The decision on whether to press criminal charges will be made by the commander of the accused Marines' parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.A parallel investigation on whether Marine higher-ups participated in a cover-up continues.
For my own thoughts on Haditha, go here.
Private First Class Bradley Mason, testifying at a hearing to determine whether four fellow troopers must stand trial, said they threatened to kill him if he told anyone about the deaths.The accused soldiers are members of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Mason also said that their brigade commander, a veteran of the 1993 ''Black Hawk Down'' battle in Somalia, told troops hunting insurgents to ''kill all of them.''
The primary reason, according to Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum, is equipment shortages in units that have left tanks, trucks and other equipment in the war zone or are bringing them home damaged.
The Pentagon budget is so stretched because of the war that the $21 billion shortfall in equipment cannot be made up.
I am further behind or in an even more dire situation than the active Army, but we both have the same symptoms, I just have a higher fever.Readiness ratings were once a taboo subject for the military, but are now being to try to force money out of Congress and the administration.
Jimmy McCain, 18, the youngest son of the Republican from Arizona, will soon report for duty in the Marine Corps. Chances are pretty good that he eventually will end up in Iraq or Afghanistan. The senator's other son, Jack, attends the Naval Academy.
McCain is a former Vietnam War prisoner of war. His family has a rich military tradition -- grandfather and father were both Navy admirals -- and his father my much beloved commanding officer during a stint in the Army. (Yes, he was in the Navy and I was in the Army, albeit attached to a pretty wacky unit. Details on request.)
Corporal Phillip E. Baucus, 28, died Saturday during combat operations in Anbar province.
The players killed by the homemade bombs in western Baghdad's Amil district ranged in age from 15 to 25. About an hour earlier, two mortar shells hit the capital's residential Abu Dshir neighborhood, one landing in a soccer field and killing three people younger than 15. The other mortar landed on a house, injuring a couple and their child.
Meanwhile, Iraq's national soccer coach resigned after receiving death threats against him and his family.
It was the latest in a series of threats, kidnappings, and killings of Iraqi sports officials.
Earlier this month, gunmen kidnapped the chairman of Iraq's National Olympic Committee and at least 30 other officials, including the presidents of the taekwondo and boxing federations, in a brazen daylight raid on a sports conference in the heart of Baghdad.
The abductions came after Iraq's national wrestling coach, a Sunni Muslim, was killed in a Shiite Muslim district of Baghdad.
I guess all those Legos that they were selling were deemed to be too Western.Zappy has more at Where Date Palms Grow.
THE DEMS FIND THEIR GROOVE -- FINALLY
Analyst extraordinaire Dick Polman has more at his American Debate.