Rats in Republican ranks over Iraq?


The war in Iraq is already lost, according to leading military strategists and prominent retired generals, quoted yesterday in British newspaper the Guardian.

Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton and now Washington bureau chief of salon.com, quotes retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, as saying: ‘Bush hasn’t found the WMD. Al-Qaeda, it’s worse, he’s lost on that front. That he’s going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It’s lost.

‘Right now, the course we’re on, we’re achieving Bin Laden’s ends.’ He said that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was the worst he has seen.

Retired general Joseph Hoare, former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told Blumenthal:

‘The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We’re conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It’s so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong.’

W Andrew Terrill, a leading Iraq military strategist, said:

‘I don’t think that you can kill the insurgency … We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view.’

These grim predictions came as a previously secret July report on the Iraq situation for President Bush became public.

US media reports say the report outlines three scenarios for Iraq to the end of 2005. The worst is civil war, and the best is that political and economic stability, and security, remain tenuous.

As well, Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warned at a hearing on Wednesday that the administration’s request for more than US$3 billion for Iraq’s security to be torn from the US$18.4 billion aid package of last November was a sign of trouble.

News reports say that Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, said the position was ‘exasperating for anybody looking at this from any vantage point.’

The State Department is likely to get more than US$3.4 billion in reconstruction funds switched to security efforts. This is part of an US$18 billion package approved by Congress last year for public works projects such water and electricity.

The US$18 billion in turn is part of a US$87 billion package that Congress passed for the American-led effort in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq.

Lugar said he was worried that of about US $18 billion approved for Iraq some 10 months ago, just over $1 billion had been dispersed as of a few days ago.

Another Republican committee member, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, described the request as ‘a clear acknowledgment that we are not holding ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that we’re winning.’

Democrat Senator Joseph Biden said Bush had often called Iraq ‘the central front of the war on terror .. by that definition, success in Iraq is a key standard by which to measure the war on terror. And by that measure, I think the war on terror is in trouble.’

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Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.