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Sovereign Occupation, Progress-o-matic

April 26, 2006

Another amazing story from this morning’s NYT, detailing Rumzz-n-Condee’s “surprise” visit to Baghdad. Here’s what Rumsfeld had to say: “This is a sovereign country, and they’re making impressive progress.” Let’s divide this pithy quote into two parts: (A) Iraq is a sovereign country; (B) Iraq is making “impressive progress.” Then, let’s look at some quotes from the rest of the very same story, which fall under one of the two categories, “sovereignty” or “progress.”

(A) Sovereignty:

“Clearly this new Iraqi government must perform on behalf of the Iraqi people,” said James Wilkinson, a senior adviser to the Secretary, who helped plan the trip. “But the new government also gives us a chance to correct our mistakes and do our part to make Iraq work.”

Under American pressure, Mr. Jaafari stepped aside earlier this month and his Shiite bloc designated Mr. Maliki, a relatively unknown and untested leader, as the person to try to form a new government.

Over the objections of the State Department, Mr. Rumsfeld took control of Iraqi reconstruction and made key decisions, such as disbanding the Iraqi Army…

[Rephrase: a functioning Iraqi government, let alone one that “performs on behalf of the Iraqi people,” is something referred to in the future tense by administration officials. And I believe them – this same administration apparently played a crucial role in changing out the Prime Minister of this “sovereign” country, let alone trashing the whole place, bungling reconstruction, “disbanding the” (sovereign, I guess) “Iraqi army,” and so on.]

(B) Progress:

…this visit offered perhaps a last chance to reverse some of the mistakes of the last three years in providing security for Iraq, getting the oil and power systems back and curbing sectarian hatreds and corruption within the Iraqi government.

A system of American teams for each province has had trouble getting off the ground and exists in only five provinces, including Baghdad.

State Department officials have been alarmed in recent weeks as sectarian killings have increased and the previous Iraqi government seemed incapable of dealing with the violence.

Of particular concern to the Bush administration has been the infiltration by Shiite militias of Iraq’s security and military forces. In some cases, the militias have carried out their own killings, in retaliation against Sunni-sponsored attacks, setting off a cycle of Sunni-Shiite violence.

…last month when Ms. Rice commented that the United States had made “thousands of tactical errors” in Iraq and Mr. Rumsfeld said he did not know what she was talking about.

[Rephrase: Increasing sectarian violence, “thousands of tactical errors,” oil and power systems still not back online after years, rise of militias and possible de-centralization of the Iraqi military into local or sectarian militias, ineffective American support for reconstruction efforts, a weakened Iraqi government…and this is just in this story; not to mention increasing loss of U.S. troops, declining support for the war among constituents in the U.S., increasing tension in the region as a whole, the re-empowerment of religious conservatives and the potential rise of Iran as a nuclear power, and so on.]

So if I may: Rumsfeld’s quote, in the real world (or even just to fit in with the rest of the NYT story), would have read: “This is a country occupied by a self-interested and incompetent foreign power, and things are going downhill fast.”

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2 Comments
  1. April 26, 2006 9:28 PM

    Yes, isn’t that special. A visit from ‘The Twin Cowards’. They ‘arrived seperately’, I see. God knows we couldn’t survive as a country if we should lose both of them at once if their plane got shot down over the Green Zone!

  2. April 27, 2006 7:52 AM

    Look, this isn’t your father’s sovereignty, and progress is relative. From what I’ve seen thus far, Iraq will surely be an indubitable success.

    In order to preserve our economic strength, and way of life here at home, we must thrust the American fist of liberation into that tumultuous region and establish a modern consumerist economy that honors our claim to the resources under its soil.

    A look at history tells us that the process of modernization is always violent. This is evidenced by the rising tide of sectarian violence in Iraq; which in turn, is evidence that we are indeed making impressive progress there.

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