MORE IRAQ WEIRDNESS….Simon Tisdall is a busy guy on the Iraq front suddenly. Today he’s back on the front page of the Guardian with yet another report about Iraq that’s very nearly single-sourced, this time from a “former senior administration official who is familiar with administration thinking.” In a nutshell, this source says that George Bush is planning to (a) get the UN involved in Iraq, (b) drum up more support for the Maliki government from neighboring Arab countries, and (c) draw down U.S. troops from “frontline combat duties.”
If anything, this report is even weirder than yesterday’s. Bush is planning to ask for “a UN command and flag to supplant the US coalition command”? Rilly? Does that sound even remotely plausible? And then Tisdall’s source adds this:
“Internally, the plan is for US forces to help isolate takfirists (fundamentalist Salafi jihadis), peel off Sunnis from the insurgency, contain hardcore elements of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army, and halt Iranian and trans-Syrian infiltration of troops and materiel.”
That sounds like a great plan. All we need now is the Wizard of Oz to help us pull it off.
I really don’t know what to think of this. Tisdall is an experienced journalist and the Guardian is a serious newspaper, but this stuff is just loony. There’s no way George Bush is going to turn over military command of Iraq to the UN and there’s no way the UN would touch it even if he did. Neighboring Arab states might be talked into supporting Maliki more strongly, but we’ve been trying to talk them into that for a long time without much sign of success. And the other stuff is just moonshine. If we had the capability to do any of it, we would have done it long ago.
There’s obviously something very strange going on here. Either Tisdall has gotten suckered or else he’s living in a different quantum reality from the rest of us. That said, though, I’ll admit that this part of the story sounds pretty plausible:
In a sign that personal as well as governmental damage limitation is under way, key Bush administration figures appear to be distancing themselves from current policy. National security adviser Stephen Hadley is expected to hand over many Iraq-related duties to Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, who some in Washington are already describing as a fall guy.
Similar senior-level role changes involving officials dealing with Iraq at the state department and Pentagon has fed speculation that people who helped launch Gen Petraeus’s “sinking ship” are now abandoning it.
Sounds about right. The real question is why Lute hasn’t figured this out too?