Nir Rosen vs. Pollack & O’Hanlon & Petraeus & Bush

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nir rosen.jpg
(photo credit: Dan Rosen)
George W. Bush may be in Baghdad today, but that won’t change the realities on the ground in Iraq.
The next month, the Bush administration is going to try and convince Americans that what most observers see happening in Iraq is not actually happening and that conversely, things are improving — with no evidence.
Paul Krugman in his piece, “Snow Job in the Desert” fillets Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack for their role in the effort and compares the non-empirical assertions of Colin Powell on WMDs to Petraeus’s coming assertions that the surge is working.
A difference I’d suggest to Krugman between Powell and Petraeus is that Powell was lied to by the administration for which he worked and was told that the intel in hand had come from multiple credible sources — and not just the single, questionable source, later identified as “Curveball.” Petraeus, in contrast, is actually a working part of the information collection and marketing operation on the surge.
My New America Foundation/American Strategy Program colleague Nir Rosen framed Iraq realities bluntly in an exchange with CNN’s Tom Foreman. I think Rosen’s grim read is right:

TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR, THIS WEEK AT WAR: Nir, let me start with you. Who is running the show in Baghdad? Or is anyone?
NIR ROSEN, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Well it depends where you are. As it has been since April 9, 2003, when Baghdad fell to the Americans, militias have been running the show. Whoever has power in the given neighborhoods, whatever local warlord, he’s the one running the show. The government is basically a theater. Whatever happens in the green zone doesn’t matter. It’s always been militia leaders, political leaders at the party level who control the various militias and the ministers, not the prime minister and not the Americans, certainly. it is various militias.
FOREMAN: Nir, based on what you are saying though the problem is there is no credible alternative is there?
ROSEN: There is no government to begin with. It’s a collection of militias. And indeed, there is no alternative. The whole focus on the government in Baghdad is the — problem is that — in everybody’s approach. In Iraq it used to be you could have a coup replace the government and the whole country followed. But now Iraqi is a collection of city states, Baghdad, Tikrit, Kirkuk, Mosul, Basra, Erbil, each one with its own warlords. They don’t answer to Baghdad. Baghdad has no control over them. When we overthrew Saddam, we imposed one dictator after another. We didn’t like Prime Minister Jaafari so we got rid of him and we put in his close ally, Maliki. And now the occupier is once again upset that the occupied people are not being sufficiently obedient. But it doesn’t matter. We are past that stage. Iraq doesn’t exist as a state anymore. The government has never existed. It has never brought in any services. Even the most fundamental service the government can provide, a monopoly over the use of violence, it doesn’t provide that because it has never controlled the militias and militias are the ones that control the police and the army.
FOREMAN: So Nir, we keep hearing reports, though, nonetheless out of Baghdad. People saying that give us time, we are trying to get this government worked out. We are going to make some progress. Do you see any way that can happen?
ROSEN: No. This has been the case for the past would two years at least. There is no hope. There is no government. Neither side is interested in compromise and why should they? The Shias control Baghdad. They have removed the Sunnis from Baghdad, from Iraq’s political future.
FOREMAN: What’s going to change that if anything?
ROSEN: Nothing is going to change that. The Shias have actually expelled most of the Sunnis from Baghdad. It went from being a majority Sunni city. Now it is a majority Shia city. The last few pockets of Sunnis are slowly being purged by the police and the Mehdi army. It’s now irrevocably a Shia city and Sunnis are just out. Unfortunately, Iraq has been completely remade and it is time to be honest. It is time for the American leaders to be honest and American military to be honest with their people.
There can be no reconciliation. This does — the latest show we had a few days ago where they brought a few leaders together and pretended like they were going to reconcile, the Sunnis are still out of the government and they remain so and why should they be? They have been expelled from Iraq. The majority of the three million refugees that we have from the region, from Iraq are Sunni. The majority being internally displaced are Sunni. Of course, whatever agreement were to be reached, parliament would never ratify it anyway.

Krugman is right to put us all on alert for a month of “snow jobs” ahead.
Rosen is setting a benchmark for truth-telling in Iraq, and it would be constructive for the administration to either object to what he is sharing or to concede that his observations are closer than Petraeus to the on-the-ground truth.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

13 comments on “Nir Rosen vs. Pollack & O’Hanlon & Petraeus & Bush

  1. Nathan says:

    The US is never leaving until the zionists are satisfied. Only Israel benefits from these endless Middle East wars. Iraq is the beginning. As we commit war-crimes in Baghdad, the US gov’t commits treason at home by opening mail, eliminating habeas corpus, using the judiciary to steal private lands, banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and Wikipedia, conducting warrantless wiretaps and engaging in illegal wars on behalf of AIPAC’s ‘money-men’. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran.. Then we’ll invade Syria, then Saudi Arabia, then Lebanon (again) then ….
    Final link (before Google Books bends to gov’t demands and censors the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

    Reply

  2. jojo says:

    Please don’t give credit to Pow-Powell. Back in 1991 he took part in the slaughter of 200,000 fleeing iraqies in 2 FKN days. Highway of death. USA allowed them to leave Kuiwaite 1 week but the killing started,once the road was full–See Docu–Hidden war of Desert storm.
    After then Powell accumulated a worth of $21 million. Then to be a good boy, got his son as chair at FCC and once Murdoc got Direct Tv–Pukes leaves. Powell is a liar and a cheat.Garbage 🙁

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  3. jojo says:

    Please don’t give credit to Pow-Powell. Back in 1991 he took part in the slaughter of 200,000 fleeing iraqies in 2 FKN days. Highway of death. USA allowed them to leave Kuiwaite 1 week but the killing started,once the road was full–See Docu–Hidden war of Desert storm.
    After then Powell accumulated a worth of $21 million. Then to be a good boy, got his son as chair at FCC and once Murdoc got Direct Tv–Pukes leaves. Powell is a liar and a cheat.Garbage 🙁

    Reply

  4. powder_monkey says:

    The only real shocker about the fragmented political situation in Iraq is that Americans are so credulous as to believe that the central government in meaningful.

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  5. TonyForesta says:

    Iran won Iraq. The fascist warmongers, profiteers, and pathological liars in the Bush government recognize this grim reality, (though they would never admit it publically). Hence the relentless and determined Bush government aggression and warfooting against Iran.
    The “commander guys” kabuki theater in Anbar today is a telling example of the “perception management disinformation warfare campaign being conducted on the American people.
    NOTHING – not one single word pimped by anyone in the Bush government has any basis in truth, fact or reality, or is based on any actual events in the field. The entire Bush government is peopled with pathological LIARS.
    The American people will be spoonfed all sorts of twisted manglings of facts, fictions, and deceptions, and a relentless spew of deceptions, distortions, distractions, disinformation, and pathological lies will be stuffed down our throats over the next few months as the catastrophic failure in the Iraq conflict swiftly gives way, and shapeshifts into justifying the coming attack on Iran.
    Iraq will be spun as “mission accomplished” and the Bush government will claim victory in Iraq, as our troops, force projection, godonlyknows how much of the peoples treasure will be redeployed and focused on the inevitable conflict with Iran.
    Unfortunately for everyone, – the bloody, costly, noendinsite reprecussions, and further excuses for wanton profiteering involved in attacking Iran, will make the catastophic failures in Iraq look like a “cakewalk”.
    “Deliver us from evil!”

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  6. Carroll says:

    Rosen is a hero too…all truth tellers are heros.
    There are so few of them these days.

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  7. Carroll says:

    I have been so negative lately I think I will try pointing out some heros for a change.
    Hero of the Week….”Danny Rubinstein ”
    Fri 31 Aug 2007
    Ha’aretz’s Danny Rubinstein in hot water: says Israel is “apartheid state” at UN conference
    Posted by Cecilie Surasky under Media , Free speech
    Dinah Spritzer at the the Jewish Telegraphic Association just reported:
    The British Zionist Federation canceled an appearance by Ha’aretz columnist Danny Rubinstein the day after he called Israel an “apartheid state” at a United Nations conference on Palestinians.
    Rubinstein, the Israeli newspaper’s Arab affairs editor and a member of its editorial board, told an audience of some 350 people that “today Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities,” according to sources at the event, held at the European Parliament in . He went on to say that Palestinians living in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel each had “a different status, according to a summary of his speech by a United Nations web site.
    Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Schwammenthal told JTA he was so shocked by what he heard that he later confirmed the comment with Rubinstein. “I asked him if he really thought Israel was in a state of apartheid and he answered ‘yes,’” Schwammenthal said.
    Rubinstein also said “Hamas won the election of the international community and Israel cannot ignore that” and argued that the security fence Israel was building could not be justified, sources said.
    The British Zionist Federation issued a statement Friday saying that it had read about Rubinstein’s quotes in a JTA news report Thursday and verified them with him the next day. According to the Zionist federation, the result was a “mutual decision” to cancel Rubinstein’s event.

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  8. Carroll says:

    And from Juan Cole…..
    Bush and Ahmadinejad: Will they or Won’t They?
    More from Barnett Rubin on signs of a potential Bush administration attack on Iran at the Global Affairs blog.
    He quotes Alex Debat from the Times of London: “the Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days.”
    Monday, September 03, 2007
    Maliki: Don’t Use Iraq as a Base to settle Scores
    US Pressures Bagdad to stop visit of Iranian President
    Sawt al-Iraq reports in Arabic that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has pledged not to allow Iraq to become a base for regional or international powers to settle scores. (This announcement seems to me to be an attempt to forewarn the Bush administration that it may not use Iraq as a base for an attack on Iran).
    >>>>>>>
    I wonder if the British leaving Iraq has anything to do with suspecting the US is about to attack Iran.

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  9. profmarcus says:

    it’s interesting to note that bush is NOT visiting baghdad but rather flew in to a u.s. airbase where, presumably, maliki and other iraqi officials were waiting for him… just more evidence to the watching world that iraq is really a u.s. possession and not a country in its own right…
    http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  10. Marcia says:

    Go to Democracy Now’s archives and listen to Amy Goodman’s interview of Nir Rosen. I have already said this here but the interview really deserves my repeating it. It is one of the most comprehensive descriptions of Iraq I have ever heard and Rosen’s calm rendition of facts is impressive.
    I am so glad Steve gives him another platform.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Off topic but too good to pass up……
    Lamborn message has couple in dismay
    By Erin Emery
    Denver Post Staff Writer
    Article Last Updated: 09/02/2007 12:02:04 AM MDT
    Colorado Springs – Rep. Doug Lamborn left two voice mails at the home of a couple who questioned his acceptance of campaign contributions from the gambling industry, saying there would be “consequences” if the couple did not respond.
    Jonathan and Anna Bartha wrote a letter printed in the Aug. 24 Woodmen Edition, a community newspaper.
    The couple raised concerns about Lamborn’s receipt of $1,000 from International Game Technology PAC and a $500 contribution last summer from Marc Murphy, an executive of Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek. IGT makes gambling equipment.
    In his messages, Lamborn said he wanted to appeal to the couple as “brothers and sisters in Christ” and implored them to call him back to discuss their “blatantly false” letter.
    “We felt very threatened and intimidated, and quite frankly, scared,” Anna Bartha said. “It was just not anything we would ever anticipate an elected official would pursue or a way that an elected official would conduct himself.”
    When asked whether his messages were threatening, Lamborn said: “No, that is ridiculous. My hope, I failed, but I had hoped to meet with them privately and confidentially because lying is a serious matter. ”
    When asked what he meant when he said there would be “consequences,” Lamborn said: “When someone tells a lie, it just has bad consequences.”
    Three days after leaving the messages on the Barthas’ voice mail, Lamborn wrote an open letter to Greg Garcia, chair of the El Paso County Republicans, asking him to investigate.
    In an open letter to the party on Aug. 8, Garcia said the local party would not tolerate false or misleading statements in campaigns.
    “That’s a lot of what I’m thinking of when I talk about ‘there are consequences,’ because Greg Garcia had said earlier that there is going to be a punishment if people tell lies in the course of a campaign,” Lamborn said.
    As a private citizen, Bartha has the right to question an elected official’s actions.
    Federal records show that Lamborn received a $1,000 check Jan. 30, 2007, from the IGT PAC. Records also show receipt of $500 from Murphy last summer.
    Lamborn said he has returned both contributions, but he could not say when that was done.
    Nancy Brown, a spokeswoman for Jones Vargas, a law firm in Reno, Nev., that represents IGT, said the company’s PAC sent a $1,000 contribution to Lamborn in January. She said Lamborn returned the check, although she could not provide the date of the return.
    Federal records do not show that the check was returned.
    The following is a text of two voice messages that Rep. Doug Lamborn left on the home telephone of Jonathan and Anna Bartha.
    FIRST MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn calling for either Jonathan or Anna. Something very serious has happened. There was a letter to the editor that you both put in your names to the editor of the Woodmen Edition and there is something that is blatantly false in that letter. “I would like to get together with you and show this to you and appeal to you as a brother and sister in Christ. You didn’t give me that opportunity but I am happy to overlook that and deal with you on that level because I think that is the right thing to do and show you where you made a blatant, wrong statement.
    “Now there are consequences to this kind of thing, but I would like to work with you in a way that is best for everyone here concerned. So please call me at your earliest convenience. It is now 2:40 (p.m.) on Saturday afternoon.
    SECOND MESSAGE: “Hello, this is Doug Lamborn again, I’m finishing up my message from a moment ago. I got cut off. It is critical that you get back to me as soon as possible on this because I’ll be going back to Washington here in a few days and I have to make sure that this is resolved one way or another.
    And like I said I’d rather resolve this on a Scriptural level but if you are unwilling to do that I will be forced to take other steps, which I would rather not have to do.
    So please call me. This is essential. Call me by tonight, Saturday night and we can get together sometime Sunday afternoon.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The problem of course is that our government has become so corrupt that it naturally attracts riffraft like Lamborn to politics.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Meanwhile….Earth to Dodd et al
    How you gonna keep them down on the farm once they have tasted American defeat? You need to start talking “Now”. Including Ahmadinejad.
    Why is it you think that one lying self serving politican is too good to talk to another lying self serving politican? Huh?
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Americans pushing to stop Ahmadinejad’s Iraq visit
    By Basil Adas, Correspondent
    Published: September 02, 2007, 23:30
    Abu Haider Al Mossawi, leader of Badr Organisation of the Islamic Supreme Council led by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim told Gulf News: “President Ahmadinejad’s visit demonstrates that Iraq and Iran are independent countries ….
    It is possible to ask Iran to play a positive role to support Iraq’s security situation. As for irritating Americans, it is a reality happening with or without Ahmadinejad’s visit.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It appears people, that everyone has signed onto overthrowing the current Iraq gov and installing Allawi..coup after coup after coup…that will not stop. And George wants another 50 billion for it.

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  13. Bill R. says:

    Steve,
    This is the picture painted by Nir Rosen that actally fits the reality that I see. So, does the Joe Biden plan fit this reality and does the U.S. really have anything more to say about what happens in Iraq? Seems like the real question is, do we simply withdraw troops in an orderly fashion or do we try to help leave in place some kind of a loose federation, or confederation in place before we leave?

    Reply

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