UPDATE (3.14.06): John @ Crooks & Liars now has the video.
John Burns on Iraq –updated–
|“There were many mistakes made, but my feeling is that if this fails, as I have to say on the balance of the odds it seems now likely to do. It's probably not going to be because of American mistakes, but because the mission was impossible in the first place.”
- John F. Burns on Bill Maher's “Real Time”
John F. Burns is back from hell, otherwise known as Iraq, and Bill
Maher interviewed him 24 hours after he arrived.
Let's just say that Burns went a little further in describing
the carnage in Iraq than our president did. Bush said Iraq is experiencing “a
period of tension.” That's the boss, ever downsizing his disasters.
The only time you can get me to play the role of steno Sue is when
John F. Burns is the man and a transcript will not be readily available. The news
is all bad, completely horrific, what your gut has been screaming while your
mind explodes at your own thoughts.
Someone needs to get a copy of the Burns interview to General
Pace and Rummy. I'd like to see them try to discredit Mr. Burns. No political
hack he, but if they're looking for a surprise “smiley face,” they're
out of luck.
Burns believes the biggest mistake made by the U.S. was Abu Ghraib.
Something also important to mention from the interview was that
Burns believes, as do others, that we finally have real talent currently running
the war for the U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad and Generals Casey and Abizaid “more
or less got the formula right” now: “But the American military
and political diplomatic leadership in Iraq now, it seems to me, is about as
good as you could possibly get.” That's the only good news.
It took 3 years for President Bush to get the right people in
place, which is just too late. Bush's incompetence and outright bumbling on
Iraq even out does Katrina by comparison. The blowback so lethal as to
threaten our country for decades. His over rated national security and foreign policy bona
fides dashed to smithereens in the Iraqi desert.
Out of the gate, the question of civil war arose. It went down
hill from there.
“I think there's been a civil war
in Iraq for some time. I think the question is the scale of it and the recent
signs that it could get much worse than it already is and how that impacts
on the prospect of American troop withdrawals, which have now come to a crunch
point, as you know, with Generals Abizaid and Casey in Washington to discuss
the proposed timetable for drawn downs beginning in the spring at a time when
there is, I think, not much sign at all that the insurgency is relenting and
a lot of indications that a troop draw down could serious destabilize an already
very unstable situation.
… A bigger problem still is the sectarianism in the
political class, which has prevented an emergence of any kind of consensus,
even (to the) people who work with the Americans, the Sunni-Arab leaders,
the Shia leaders, the Kurdish leaders, who have such divergent views of what
kind of nation state Iraq should be. This is three years into this political
process and I don't think they're any closer now to any kind of minimal consensus
than they were at the beginning.
There were many mistakes made, but my feeling
is that if this fails, as I have to say on the balance of the odds it seems
now likely to do. It's probably not going to be because of American mistakes,
but because the mission was impossible in the first place.
…but whether it can prevail, that's very uncertain
and I'm sure that at this moment in Washington D.C. they've reach a real crunch
point. They've got to decide and they've got to decide within a matter of
a couple of weeks, whether or not they're going to start drawing down troops
and I think that the military commanders know that although much progress
has been made in building up the Iraqi security forces, they are not strong
enough and not foreseeably will be strong enough to carry the main brunt of
this fight. And if they are not and American troop withdrawal start there
will be a destabilization. On the other hand, if the decision is made to delay
those withdrawals, it seems to me there's going to be a major political problem
in this country. I've been here 24 hours. I haven't met a single person yet
who has… I haven't met a single person yet who speaks in favor of this war.
There seems to be a wide tidal wave of opinion against it.
However, the reality that Burns offers won't stop President Bush from launching
yet another p.r. campaign on the Iraq war, as the 3-year anniversary of March
20th draws near. Everyone in attendance at his speeches should boo him off the
stage. To make sure that won't happen he'll likely show up in front of the military.
Things are so bad in Iraq that our president has paralyzed our troops between
warring factions in an Iraqi civil war. But listening to more propaganda that
doesn't resemble reality? No. This has gone far enough.
A series of powerful explosions ripped through a Shiite slum in eastern Baghdad Sunday evening, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 200, as top Iraqi politicians vowed to redouble their efforts to form a national unity government to help ease a recent surge in sectarian violence. …
Explosions in Baghdad Kill at Least 50