Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Audacity of Despair: Pelosi on Iraq

From page 11A of the Detroit News:

Iraq OKs provincial elections, sets stage for political change

Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra / Associated Press
-- Parliament cleared the way Wednesday for provincial elections this year that could give Sunnis a stronger voice and usher in vast changes to Iraq's power structure.

The new law -- which set the vote for Oct. 1 -- is one of the most sweeping reforms pushed by the Bush administration and signals that Iraq's politicians finally, if grudgingly, may be ready for small steps toward reconciliation.

Passage of benchmark reforms on healing the country's sectarian and ethnic rifts -- along with a reduction in violence -- were the primary goals of the 30,000-strong U.S. troop increase that President Bush ordered early last year.

We'll see how much attention this gets. Just this past Sunday, Nancy Pelosi was on CNN refusing to admit that any progress had been made at all in Iraq. She told Wolf Blitzer Iraq was nothing but a “war without end” and a “disaster.”

Pelosi calls Iraq a ‘failure’

By Mike Allen
Feb 10, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq “is a failure,” adding that President Bush’s troop surge has “not produced the desired effect.”

“The purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “They have not done that.”

The speaker hastened to add: “The troops have succeeded, God bless them.” …

Pelosi’s comment came during a discussion of her call for “the redeployment of our troops out of Iraq.”

Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked: “Are you not worried, though, that all the gains that have been achieved over the past year might be lost?”

There haven’t been gains, Wolf,” the speaker replied. “The gains have not produced the desired effect, which is the reconciliation of Iraq. This is a failure. This is a failure. The troops have succeeded, God bless them. We owe them the greatest debt of gratitude for their sacrifice, their patriotism, and for their courage and to their families as well…

“Afghanistan is not settled because the president took his eye off the ball and took the full attention that should have been in Afghanistan, and shifted some of that to Iraq, a war without end, without a plan, without a reason to go in, without a plan to win, without a strategy to leave. This is a disaster … we cannot perpetuate.”

Though she spoke before Wednesday’s parliamentary vote, Ms. Pelosi already knew about the months of steady and dramatic reductions in violence, the routing of Al Qaeda with Sunni assistance, the de-Baathification reforms passed weeks ago, and the progress in the sharing of oil revenues. But there was no political capital in saying that.

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