4 Bombs Shake Baghdad Wednesday Morning
Condi Assures Senate Everything was Handled Properly
and Everything will be All Right
of bombings on the Iraqi capital Wednesday morning, as at least four big explosions shook several sites. Affected were the area near the Australian embassy, a police station, and the Green Zone. Initial reports gave the death toll as 7.
A new Los Angeles Times poll showed that US support for the Iraq war had sunk to new lows, such that only 39% of Americans now believe that the situation in 2002 and 2003 was bad enough to warrant a war with Iraq. The news that there were no weapons of mass destruction appears to be gradually filtering down into even the Red states.
that the majority of the US public has been disaffected with the war in Iraq for some time, putting the lie to Bush’s notion that he won a mandate to go on with the same policies there.
In the US, Dr. Condaleeza Rice appeared before the Senate in confirmation hearings on her nomination by Bush to be Secretary of State. I was struck by how much tougher The LA Times was in its coverage than most other news outlets. It notes, e.g., that Dr. Rice seemed unwilling to condemn torture unreservedly (her people back in Birmingham must be proud of that one).
I was alarmed at how doctrinaire all her answers were, and how she consistently refused to take any responsibility for misleading the American public into an unnecessary war. Her notion that the US cannot afford to let failed states fester is something that could be debated. But Iraq was not a failed state in 2002. If anything Condi Rice has helped turn Iraq into a failed state. If it is undesirable for the US to let failed states fester, surely it is even more undesirable for the US to use false pretences to turn countries into failed states. She either doesn’t get it, or doesn’t have the elemental courage and integrity to admit that she was wrong. Her deputy Stephen Hadley, by the way, was the one who over-ruled the CIA and authorized the phrase about Iraq buying uranium from Niger in the 2003 State of the Union address. Condi is responsible for her subordinates. If you just went through and made a quotation table of everything she said about Iraq in the first term, it would be hilarious to read now.
The one thing I disagree with the LA Times piece about is that they say she might be more effective because she is closer to Bush than Powell was. Not so. Her lack of political and intellectual independence from Bush will turn her into a mere parrot, and all the heavy duty decisions will be taken by Donald Rumsfeld and his Neoconservative phalanx. Her testimony, which sounded as though she had been stuck in a time warp for the past three years and hadn’t noticed the disaster in Iraq, was a good sign of her future irrelevance and current inability to deal with reality.
The piece of fear mongering she did about the small weak country of Syria was the most alarming thing I heard. She is in no position to rattle sabers at this point. Those bombs in Baghdad on Wednesday weren’t set from Damascus. They were local munitions, local military expertise, local Iraqi guerrillas. And, besides, threatening Syria too vehemently could easily backfire. If they start to fear Condi intends to overthrow them, the Syrian Baath will only have more incentive to support the guerrillas.