Sunday, February 04, 2007

Iraq: New Iraq Plan’s Authors Don’t Think It Will Work

(Editor’s note: the following report was based on an article in the Washington Post.)

Dateline: February 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It seems that even the authors of the latest Bush administration plan to bring stability to Iraq have little confidence that the plan will work.

“I wrote it, and I don’t think it’s going to work,” said one official. “Me neither,” added another. “I wouldn’t want to be the poor bastard who tries to implement this year’s plan.”

“I don't think much of it. Basically our whole plan is full of holes,” said another Bush foreign policy expert. “It depends on a lot of things happening that just aren’t going to happen—hell freezing over, pigs having wings, that sort of stuff.”

When asked why they had formulated a plan that had such little likelihood of success, the officials explained that it was either that or get fired. “We’re not allowed to sound ‘defeatist’” explained one source. “Who knows, something could turn up, Jesus could come back or something. And then we’d have gotten ourselves fired over nothing. These foreign policy jobs are hard to get, you know.”

Several senior officials involved in formulating the political and economic aspects of the administration's strategy agreed to discuss its assumptions and risks on the condition that they not be identified by name. Other sources refused to be even anonymously quoted. Still other sources would only agree to talk about the new Bush plan if they were permitted to wear false moustaches and answer questions about Iraq’s future via a ventriloquist's dummy, while drinking a glass of water.

The strategy's political component centers on replacing deepening Sunni-Shiite-Kurdish divides with a new delineation between "extremists" and "moderates." Moderates are defined as those of all religious and political persuasions who eschew violence. “Basically anybody who hasn’t actually been videotaped cutting someone else’s head off,” explained one official.

What is doubtful is whether there are enough moderates in Iraq to make a real difference. One ventriloquist’s dummy contended that “You could fit all the moderates in Iraq into the hot tub at the Baghdad Hilton and still have room left over for America’s Next Top Plus-Size Model.” And then the dummy gave a scary little laugh. “A-heh-heh-heh-heh!”

The planners agreed that so far Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said the right things about cracking down on the sectarian violence that is tearing Baghdad apart. But there are worrisome signs. “He said those things from inside a closet,” explained one official. “He had locked himself in there and refused to come out while he said them. And he was using this kind of high-pitched, falsetto voice when he talked about the need to crack down on sectarian violence, so you couldn’t really tell if it was him in there. And he sounded a little sarcastic, too.”

A key element in the current plan calls for all the members of fighting militias to throw down their weapons, form a huge circle, take each other’s arms and play “Ring-around-the-Rosie.” “That is the benchmark of success that our plan calls for by April--May at the latest,” says one of the plan’s authors. “If that doesn’t happen we will know that it’s time for us to come up with another plan.”



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