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Thursday, November 30, 2006


Maliki's tools

George Bush is being widely quoted as having said after meeting Iraqi Primi Minister Maliki yesterday:
"One of his frustrations with me is that he believes we've been slow about giving him the tools necessary to protect the Iraqi people."
Bush didn't elaborate on what those "tools" might be, nor has any of the news coverage I've watched so far, but surely it isn't merely "training" which A) doesn't qualify as a "tool", and B) has been the alleged centerpiece of the U.S. "exit strategy" for several years now. No, as I've been writing for a year and a half, I'm guessing the "tools" that Maliki was referring to are the planes and tanks he really needs to emulate the American "success" against the resistance, tools that the U.S. has not only been "slow" about giving the Iraqis, but tools that there isn't a chance in hell they're ever going to give to them. Heck, as we just learned a few weeks ago, the U.S. isn't even supplying armored Humvees to the Iraqi forces, much less tanks and planes.

An amusing take on this is found in the New York Times article on the subject, which quotes an unnamed "senior administration official" about the meeting:

"This is not the United States and Iraq struggling for control of the steering wheel. This is the United States wanting Iraq to be firmly with the steering wheel in its hand, and the issue is, how do we get there as quickly as possible."
Chances are the official meant that metaphorically. But I'd say that steering wheel is quite a literal one, and not only isn't the U.S. letting the Iraqis have the steering wheel, they aren't even letting them in the car tank.

By the way, I originally titled this post, "The elephant in the room." I have not yet read a single article, or heard a single commentator, discuss this subject.

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