Monday, February 26, 2007

The worst micromanagement of military affairs

Sunday morning Condi Rice was interviewed on ABC and Fox.

The theme of today’s Condi-pics, by the way, is hands.

Chris Wallace asked, twice, if the US can “live with” (i.e., refrain from overthrowing militarily) the government of Iran if they “clean up their act.” She evaded the question twice, as Iran will surely have noticed.

She also wouldn’t say if Bush would veto a bill restricting him in Iraq because she “can’t imagine a circumstance” in which Congress would do so. She said it would be “the worst micromanagement of military affairs” (has she forgotten Donald Rumsfeld already?) to interfere with the “clean relationship” (don’t ask, don’t tell) “between the commander-in-chief and the commanders in the field.” She said such disruption of the chain of command “always served us badly in the past.” She wasn’t asked to what she was referring.

She played up Al Qaida’s supposed role in Iraq in a way that bolsters the theory that the Bushies are going to claim, if Congress does do the thing Condi can’t imagine, that military operations in Iraq are covered not by the 2002 authorization of force in Iraq but by the 2001 one against terrorism in general. She asked, “how do you possibly distinguish what is going on in Baghdad, for instance, from the fight for al-Qaida -- with al-Qaida? We have to remember that some of these car bombs may indeed be the work of an organization like al-Qaida or al-Qaida affiliated allies.” Also, “how can you separate, again, what is going on in places like Anbar from what is going on in Baghdad?” Also, since Al Qaida supposedly started all this with the Samara mosque bombing, “how do you separate al-Qaida’s having helped to spike this sectarian violence from stopping this sectarian violence?” The scary thing is that she thinks this sort of thing is a logical argument in support of her position.

Here’s another one: asked if the change in the nature of the war in Iraq since the 2002 authorization of force doesn’t justify rewriting it, she said: “it would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change then the resolution that allowed the United States to do that so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown.” Isn’t that a convincing analogy?

She says of Maliki, “The Prime Minister has been tireless in going out and promoting the Baghdad security plan.” Not going out in Baghdad of course, that would be crazy.

She also praises the “excellent cooperation” of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia against Al Qaida: “More al-Qaida have been caught in Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia than any other place in the world. And so they are working very hard with us.” Of course, more Al Qaida have also not been caught in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia than any other place in the world.

(Update: and you know what no one asked her about in either interview? Her trip to the Middle East. That’s how significant it was.)

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