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Sunday, June 15

Watching ...

... It all just slip away.

George Bush is on his farewell tour of Europe right now, meeting in Britain with PM Gordon Brown and presumably begging him to not lay down a timetable for the withdrawal of the last British troops in Iraq. If the British withdraw, American troops will have to be detailed to the south in order to keep the supply lines to Kuwait and the port of Basra open and at least somewhat secure.

Part of the need for a secure line to the south is in the event we need to make a fighting withdrawal from the country. If the Iraqi government demands that we leave, chances are VP Cheney will exert every influence on the President to keep us there. Which will cause very nasty things to happen.

Kind of difficult when a government you put into place doesn't do things the way you want, huh?

Speaking of which, do you recall that the Hamas-led government in Gaza was the legally elected government of the Palestinian Authority? Yep, it's true; but rather than recognize the fait very accompli, the US and Europe have cut ties to Gaza. It's odd - Nepal's government includes former Maoist terrorists, as did Israel's back in 1948. We didn't waste much time in recognizing them, now did we?

By the way - Bush's great dream of a new settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians? Don't hold your breath; Israelis keep building new settlements on Palestinian land, aggravating the situation. In fact, Secretary of State and Surrogate Bush Wife Condi Rice is in Israel now, talking to her counterpart and saying that it's "simply not helpful."

Understatement of the month, Condi Baby.

Which brings us to Afghanistan, which some are calling The Forgotten War. Four US Marines died there last week, and I surely hope that they and their sacrifice are not forgotten.

A group of Pakistani soldiers apparently got blown up by the US last week, and Pakistan got all hot under the collar (can you blame them?) about it. Which led Afghan President Hamid "Unocal Is Your Friend!" Karzai to threaten to invade Pakistan in order to stop the cross-border raids that simply not being helpful. Pakistan said that they wouldn't allow Afghan troops to enter Pakistani territory - which brings up a very interesting set of scenarios.

Earlier this week, a very well-planned and coordinated attack on the second-biggest prison in Afghanistan (reports of two truck bombs at opposite ends of the compound, and RPG fire inside) freed some 800 or so inmates, many of whom were Taliban and al-Qaeda cell leaders and suicide bombers. A region-wide manhunt has so far killed 15 of the escapees, but chances are the bulk of them have managed to get into friendly territory or back across the border into Pakistan.

So here are these escaped inmates, all with certain skills and most likely with blood in their eyes, loosed upon the land again.

I was watching PBS's Frontline this morning and they were replaying the two-part Bush's War documentary. I was struck again by the immense amount of hubris displayed by the major players in the preparation, execution and aftermath of the initial combat operation, and the missteps that have dragged us, inexorably, to where we are now.

So George Bush will ride out the clock, watching it all just slip away.

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