Well, no kidding. They’re not going to torpedo the morale of their own troops by taking her on a corpse tour of Baghdad. We all know it’s still going on — less so in Baghdad but more so in other areas as the jihadis fan out to avoid the surge — so why the left thinks they’d use their time with her to reiterate it is beyond me.
She also says Petraeus seems to be planning an upbeat progress report for next week. Again, no kidding.
I’ve got a bunch of interesting Iraq links for you but partly out of holiday-weekend laziness and partly out of a simple inability to stitch them all together into some overarching theme, I’m just going to point you to them and let you pick and choose from the smorgasboard as you prefer. The one epic piece of the bunch is Michael Gordon’s look at how the insurgency flipped in Anbar to supporting the U.S. against Al Qaeda. Bush has been leaning on Maliki for months to capitalize on the trend by making a conciliatory gesture towards the Sunnis; here’s what he finally came up with. The counterpoint to that, and the one must-read among what I’m giving you, is this Newsweek piece about the Shiite offensive within Baghdad. One of the reasons the body count is down inside the city is because there simply aren’t many Sunnis left to fight on. They’ve been pushed out by the Mahdi Army with the help of the Iraqi police and the silent complicity of Maliki’s Shiite government. With the Sunnis gone, the Shia have turned their guns on American soldiers and, of course, on each other, and not just in Baghdad. Another aide to Ayatollah Sistani was assassinated yesterday in Basra, presumably by the Sadrists given Sistani’s alliance with Sadr’s rival, SCIRI. There’s been open warfare among the various Shiite mafia families in Basra for months; the Brits finally threw up their hands today and pulled out of their last base in the city, reportedly to Bush’s great disgust.
The sectarian and intrasectarian battles will resolve themselves one way or another eventually but the problem most endemic to Arab governments remains:
What kinds of crimes are we talking about? How serious is this corruption?
If you believe the report, and you listen to people who work at these ministries, you get the impression that corruption is completely sapping the country’s resources. I had a long talk this afternoon with someone who works at the Ministry of Interior — that’s the department that supervises all of Iraq’s police forces. And he told me that it’s corrupt from top to bottom — that officials at the top of the pile are making money from things like contracts to buy equipment. One example of that was that a top official got a contract to buy armored vests for the police. And when the vests arrived, they were much cheaper quality than the ones he was paid to deliver.
Bill Ardolino at INDC Journal wrote about corruption in Anbar at some length when he embedded in Fallujah over the winter. He’s back in Fallujah now. Stay tuned for a progress report of his own sometime this month.