To understand whatâ€™s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.
This column has a must-read explanation of what’s going on with oil revenues in Iraq and why it means the Iraqi government ain’t worth a bucket of warm spit. Here’s just a small part:
… Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the Presidentâ€™s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.
Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isnâ€™t all that surprising, given this administrationâ€™s history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the â€œaxis of evil.â€
No, whatâ€™s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdadâ€™s disapproval, heâ€™s essentially betting that the Iraqi government â€” which hasnâ€™t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January â€” wonâ€™t get its act together. Indeed, heâ€™s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.
The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration â€” maybe even Mr. Bush himself â€” know this, too.
All in all, Mr. Bushâ€™s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what youâ€™d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.
Again, you must read the whole column.
President Bush’s TV address tonight was the worst speech he’s ever given on the war in Iraq, and that’s saying a lot. Every premise, every proposal, nearly every substantive point was sheer fiction. The only question is whether he was being deceptive or delusional.
Mr. Bush was clear last night â€” as he was when he addressed the nation in January, September of last year, the December before that and in April 2004 â€” that his only real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started.
For the implacable Bush administration and for the impatient Congress, a single force drives all discussion about Iraq. It has not much to do with Iraqis. Their concerns are the future of the U.S. military, of U.S. prestige, of U.S. access to oil, of broader U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. Add to the mix the political imperatives that inspire all of them — Bush’s intent to hand over the messy endgame to the next president; lawmakers’ determination to find a path to re-election that guides them safely through this quagmire — and you have a myopia that is bereft of morality.
More and more, the president sounds like he has decided to play out the clock. After American troop levels surged to 160,000 over the past nine months, the number will be reduced to 130,000 by next summer. Petraeus was already committed to bringing several brigades home to meet a promise to limit tours of duty to 15 months.
Weary and wary Americans listening to their president are parsing out the rhetoric and vocabulary of presidential reports. Notice how the word victory is replaced by success, which is not defined.