Sunday, March 5


This was one surreal experiece. Tim Russert interviewed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace. Total unreality. Pace told Tim Russert that all would be OK in Iraq as long as the Iraqi army and police force are loyal to the central government (he didn't say when that might begin). Said the Iraqi people are "SO much better off" than they were under Saddam. Claimed there are 232,000 in the Iraqi army and police serving their country. Didn't mention that after more than three years, there's not a single Iraqi battalion (a few hundred troops) that can fight on its own.

Pace said the vast majority of those participating in insurgent-like activity are either fearful of the insurgents or do it because it's the only way they can economically support their families. He says the end of the insurgency is dependent upon Iraqis seeing that their government can provide the jobs and security, etc. that the people need. Pace said what is happening in Iraq is very, very positive relative to training Iraqis, who have performed very well in the latest violence. Pace (and everyone) should read this analysis in Foreign Affairs, "Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon." It argues that the Bush strategy is exactly counter to what it should be.

Russert asked about William F. Buckley's remarks that the Iran venture is a failure. Pace suggested that if Buckley would just walk the streets of Baghdad, talk to the Iraqi people and government, he'd feel differently. Timmeh responded sardonically, "Do you really believe WF Buckley COULD walk the streets of Baghdad?" Pace smiled and said Buckley would "probably want an escort." He insisted that the Iraqi people, army and police are loyala to the government and are getting more so every day.

What we're seeing in the media, Pace said, is the same bomb going off every 15 minutes, and if they [the American citizenry] could see all the progress that is going on, they'd understand we're doing the right thing. "The American people can and should be very proud" of what we're doing.

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Blogger Left of Center said...

Talking to Pace is no different than talking to Scott McClellan.

12:24 PM  
Blogger mikevotes said...

I've seen excerpts but not the whole thing. I sure hope to god he doesn't believe what he's saying (that he's saying it for some PR reason) because this guy is defining strategy, cutting orders, and sending people out on missions.

And if he's that seperated from reality, he's gonna send people out and they'll die because of his misunderstanding.


3:05 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

You had to see his face to get a real sense of how eerie the whole thing was. He had this kind of fixed smile almost throughout as if he was, indeed, an automaton. He seemed (and this IS, after all, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs!) much more disposed to take orders than to give them.

And I think we know what those orders are. Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate. Buy us (the Bush administration) some time and loan us some credibility.

4:35 PM  

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