November 27, 2005

L.A. Times - End this war.

The newly-conservative L.A. Times mgmt wrote a stinging Iraq editorial today, excerpts below:
    . IRAQ'S SUNNI, SHIITE AND KURDISH leaders have finally found an issue on which they agree: a timetable for the U.S. to leave Iraq.  That's fine.  They have also agreed it's permissible for insurgents to kill U.S. soldiers.  That's dreadful.
    . Murtha was right to say U.S. forces in Iraq "have become the target."  Gen. George W. Casey, the top commander in Iraq, made that assessment two months ago, saying the presence of an occupying army was "one of the elements that fuels the insurgency."
    . Despite the periodic increases in troop strength, the insurgency shows no sign of waning. The number of trained Iraqi troops also fluctuates;
earlier this year, U.S. generals said three units had attained the highest state of readiness, but months later they downgraded the number to one.
    . The administration needs to set specific goals for progress in Iraq and timetables to meet them...
    . Last Sunday's Times report on the Iraqi informant with the apt nickname "Curveball" was a devastating portrait of the deeply flawed prewar intelligence constantly promoted by the administration as it lined up the tanks, planes and troops in 2003.
        The report quoted German intelligence officials as saying they warned U.S. colleagues of the unreliability of Curveball, a defector who was critical to the administration's claims that Saddam Hussein possessed biological weapons...
    . Cheney's speech on Monday worked in the usual reference to 9/11 in the same sentence as Hussein.  Yet once again it's necessary to point out that Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The vice president also cited the prewar declarations from many nations that Hussein probably had the most devastating weapons. But he neglected to say that Hussein at the eleventh hour allowed U.N. weapons inspectors into the country, that the initial inspections turned up nothing and that the administration refused to wait for more complete searches.
    . The administration used too few troops for postwar reconstruction, misunderstood how occupation forces would be viewed, did not dispatch enough who understood the language and culture and refused to listen to those experienced in nation building.
    . ...The longer suicide bombers devastate Iraq and U.S. troops die with little signs of progress, the greater will be the cry to withdraw no matter the result. The U.S. needs to tell Iraqis we will be gone before too much longer, although we won't yet say just when. And the administration needs to shore up its own credibility with Americans to maintain their support for this nation's engagement in world affairs.


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