Considering the administration-friendly nature of the media, the fact that the majority of Americans understand the debacle of Iraq is rather encouraging. After all, it is hard to totally dismiss accounts of the daily carnage that does filter through. In fact, by virtually all accounts, the situation in Iraq borders on civil war, with the most optimistic assessments referring to a long, uphill climb to even somewhat stabilize the region.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the looking glass, we have the fantasyland known as the Bush Administration.
And what a grim fairy tale they spin.
In an op-ed in today's Washington Post, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asserts that we are doing a helluva job.
The piece is titled "What We've Gained In 3 Years In Iraq."
Right off the top, in my mind it conjures up the following; more than 2,000 of our troops killed, countless more injured and maimed, tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties, record U.S. debt, collapse of American stature abroad, and so on.
But Rumsfeld has different ideas.
For example, he states "The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case."
Rummy has his stats, which would be relevant if this administration had ever presented honest facts. He writes:
"Today, some 100 Iraqi army battalions of several hundred troops each are in the fight, and 49 control their own battle space. About 75 percent of all military operations in the country include Iraqi security forces, and nearly half of those are independently Iraqi-planned, Iraqi-conducted and Iraqi-led. Iraqi security forces have a greater ability than coalition troops to detect a foreign terrorist's accent, identify local suspects and use force without increasing a feeling of occupation. It was these Iraqi forces -- not U.S. or coalition troops -- that enforced curfews and contained the violence after the attack on the Golden Dome Shrine in Samarra. To be sure, violence of various stripes continues to slow Iraq's progress. But the coalition is doing everything possible to see this effort succeed and is making adjustments as appropriate."
That is all fine and good if this sunny assessment were supported by any independent source. But it isn't. Anybody can cite some stat to support virtually any position. In this case, do we even know what these statistics and assertions honestly mean? Can we consider any alleged facts by an administration with zero credibility as truthful?
Polls have shown that the Iraqis do not want us there and that our presence could more likely lead to continued violence. Almost all accounts out of Iraq indicate that the situation is dire.
In light of this, one would think that the Bushies would focus on making adjustments to their failed policy and do what they can to mitigate further casualties.
Instead, it is the lockstep 'feel good' campaign, as if Dubya was back under a "Mission Accomplished" banner.
Whatever these guys are smoking, it must be rather potent.