Friday, December 22, 2006

I think that they do have some concrete plans in mind

Secretary of War Robert
gates 6
, according to the Pentagon website, will report back to Bush on what he has learned in Iraq, where he “largely spent the three days [more like 48 hours, Pentagon website, let’s not exaggerate] in meetings with U.S. generals and diplomats, and with high-ranking members of the Iraqi government, including President Jalal Talibani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. U.S. leaders with whom Gates met included Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad; Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command; and Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr.” Wow, that really shows Gates’s commitment to hearing fresh ideas from people whose voices are so rarely heard in the corridors of power, who are not associated in any way with the previous clusterfuck.

Gates says Americans should get a sense of perspective, because after all those years of war and Baathist rule (and sanctions, he had the nerve to say), “having people act on their own initiative, having people take responsibility for their actions, these are new things in Iraq, perhaps in the whole history of the country.” In fact, he added, they’re so demoralized that I can talk this condescendingly about them, and they don’t even tell me to go fuck myself.

But he does say that they’re committed to doing stuff. Or at least talking about doing stuff. For example, when asked by a reporter if the Iraqis were going to crack down on Shiite militias, Gates said, “What I heard from all of the Iraqis that I talked to was the conviction that they have to break down -- that they have to crack down on all lawbreakers across the board and that no group was exempted from that.” When asked a follow-up about whether they had actually committed to any actual, real-life, concrete steps, he said, “I think that they do have some concrete plans in mind”. Good enough for me.

He said he’d really like to have left the Green Zone and visited Mosul, but bad weather prevented it. Yeah, that’s the ticket, bad weather...

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