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That's Not The Smell of Victory, It's Cordite

Friday, Mar. 28, 2008 3:55 AM

A question that has never been answered about the Iraq war (at least not directly), is, "What does victory look like?"

In the past, President Bush has told us we will accept nothing less than total victory; he has also been cited as saying we need to get to a point where we can simply say, 'we won.'

Now, he's telling us the most recent outbreak of violence - armed fighting in the street between insurgents (possibly elements of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army) and Iraqi security forces - is a 'byproduct of the success of the Surge.' It is, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, 'precisely what the critics have asked to see in Iraq, more movement by Iraqi Security Forces.'

Except that many of those critics are not anti-war interests or liberals, but members of the Bush Administration, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and General David Petraeus. (Petraeus is also slated to give a report in April as to whether the Surge is working or not, and we're hearing the same garbage as we did back last year prior to his first dog-and-pony show.)

And it's odd that only last week, we were hearing how we needed to suspend force reductions ... and now we're hearing, 'Yay! Success!'. I wouldn't exactly put money down on seeing those force reductions resume any time soon. We've been promised troop withdrawals for years, and there's always something preventing that from happening.

The Surge is so successful, workers at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad are being told to remain inside reinforced structures, due to the increased risk of gunfire and rocket attacks.

This is inside the Green Zone.

As the old military saw goes, "When you secure an area, be sure you tell the enemy."

(The new embassy complex isn't actually finished, and personnel are being billeted in various locations, rather than staying in more vulnerable trailers.)

Oh, and that ultimatum issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki?

It's been extended. Just in case the insurgents couldn't hear it over all the gunfire and shouting.

Or something like that.

In the wake of warheads going for walkies, and fusing devices 'accidentally' being shipped to Taiwan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is ordering a complete inventory of all nuclear weapons across all branches of the armed forces.

Of course, if someone's been siphoning off restricted materials for nefarious purposes, and since the data is classified, we're essentially going to hear that everything's where it belongs, no problem. Don't worry.

Actually, when the Bush Administration is busy warning us about terrorists seeking nuclear materials and how they keep stopping domestic plots, damned skippy I'm worried. Not knowing this stuff has gone anywhere other than its proper storage site is gross incompetence at the very least.

Here's an idea - let's consult with notable Science Fiction authors on Homeland Security issues! (Said authors include Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and David Brin.

I heard Brin speak at WorldCon in 2002, and I wasn't impressed.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is still going on about that 3 AM phone call, saying 'sometimes the crisis is economic,' and suggesting she'll be ready and willing to lead when that happens.

Except American markets will be closed, because it's 3:00 AM in the morning - the NYSE doesn't open until 9:30 Eastern. And even when overseas markets such as the Hang Seng and Nisei indices plummet, no one opens early.

It's not only another fictional emergency upon which Hillary is basing her electability, but it suggests she really doesn't know how the world works. (I'm sure we'll hear how she was speaking figuratively, not literally.)

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