Saturday, March 18, 2006

(What follows was written before I had a chance to read the Time story "How Operation Swarmer Fizzled." Wow, it's even worse than I thought.)

Here's what I don't get: If the Bush administration launched Operation Swarmer to focus America's attention on the skill of the Iraqi military, how was that supposed to help the administration in the polls? It seems obvious to me that if you're telling the public, "These Iraqis are really doing a really fine job," the American is going to think, "If they're so great, why the hell aren't we starting to get our troops out?"

Plus, it's a mixed message. The message is "The Iraqis are standing up," but it's also "Three years into the war, we feel we need to launch a huge air assault -- and yes, it has to be with our aircraft." That says, "We're taking it to the enemy" -- but it also says we're still struggling to defeat the enemy. It says the Iraqis can fight -- but it also says they still need us to give them a ride.

Only the Bush cultists were ever going to see this operation in a positive light. For everyone else, this was inevitably going to be seen as confirmation that we're still in this up to our necks.

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