Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MINI-BENCHMARKS....Tina Susman of the LA Times produces another grim report card on the surge today. A few individual neighborhoods in Baghdad and elsewhere might be safer than before, but sectarian cleansing is up, thousands of Iraqis are fleeing their homes, intra-Shiite violence is increasing, and overall figures on civilian casualties are far from encouraging:

Privately, many troops say the military buildup should have been able to do far more by now than cut the number of attacks in some neighborhoods.

Pouring troops into the capital is no doubt going to make some areas safer, said one Marine officer, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the upcoming assessment.

"I don't know anyone who said, 'Let's have an argument on whether 20,000 troops can have an impact on some neighborhoods,' " the officer said. "I heard a debate about whether a 20,000-man surge would appreciably enhance the security of the Iraqi people and end the sectarian violence so political reconciliation could occur across the country, not just in Baghdad neighborhoods."

And speaking of political reconciliation, here's what Ambassador Ryan Crocker is reduced to saying about that: "There are...if you will, mini-benchmarks where things are happening."

Mini-benchmarks. A phrase worth remembering, I'm sure.

Kevin Drum 1:19 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Just now on Radio 4 I heard good news: A secret meeting was held in Finland between representatives, both Sunni and Shiite, from Iraq, facilitated by a Northern Ireland official, also someone from South Africa. An agreement emerged, which called for, among other things, a limit to intervention from foreign govts.

FInland will save us!

Posted by: KathyF on September 4, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ambassador Ryan Crocker >"There are...if you will, mini-benchmarks where things are happening."

JFuc*inC

Are there any people with brains involved in this clusterf*ck ?

MiniMe benchmarks my ass

"The future will be a struggle between huge competing systems of psychopathology." - J. G. Ballard

Posted by: daCasacadian on September 4, 2007 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

A few individual neighborhoods in Baghdad and elsewhere might be safer than before, but sectarian cleansing is up, thousands of Iraqis are fleeing their homes, intra-Shiite violence is increasing,

Since you have never been to Iraq before, you can't know if what you said is correct or not. To the contrary, George W Bush did go to Iraq today and attests to the riveting success occurring throughout the newly liberated state.

Link

"The secretary's and I have come here today to see with our own eyes the remarkable changes that are taking place in Al-Anbar Province. The people in this province are seeing that standing up to the extremists is the path to a better life. I'm going to reassure them that America does not abandon our friends and America will not abandon the Iraqi people."

Posted by: Al on September 4, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

It's clear that the surge has been a rousing PR success, and that's all that matters with this crew.

Posted by: bad Jim on September 4, 2007 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK


al: "The secretary's and I have come here today to see with our own eyes the remarkable changes that are taking place in Al-Anbar Province."

how do you do that...if he never left the air base?

Posted by: mr. irony on September 4, 2007 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

I have written that the comments on the Surge would be exactly what they are now for months. It was pre-ordained. Nothing to do with events, just politics.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 4, 2007 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

Weak Spoof of Al-- since you've never been to Vietnam, you can't say what happened and who won. I say we won, just like we're winning in Iraq.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on September 4, 2007 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

Mini-benchmarks-- I wish I had had that one when it was time to show my report cards and try to ply a few bucks from my parents when I was a kid.

Posted by: Swan on September 4, 2007 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Al, al-anBar does have areas just as safe as skiing villages in Switzerland and Taos ski village in NM. Why, in Fallujah, one can walk the streets without fear of car bombings.

That is because, as in the ski villages mentioned, cars are banned. So, no car bombings and drivebys. Of course, as in the Claudine Longet Downhill Ski Championships of old in Aspen, there will be that occasional sniper. Yeah, still lots of Spiders going down in Iraq.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 4, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Mini-benchmarks" seems an appropriate product of the "mini-competents" and "mini-patriots" in this Republican administration.

Posted by: McCord on September 4, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Blib from todays MSM:
President Bush has arrived in Australia on a rainy Tuesday night after an unscheduled detour to a dusty war zone and Iraqi province that was once rife with insurgents.

...was once rife with insurgents.....


Probably was once rife with living people too.

Posted by: Zit on September 4, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Mini-benchmarks" seems an appropriate product of the "mini-competents" and "mini-patriots" in this Republican administration.

You mean Republican ad-mini-stration?

Posted by: Disputo on September 4, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Rimshot!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 4, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

On another thread, there is a discussion ongoing about "unnecessary" medical procedures.

So, a moral dilemma - If Shrub were seriously injured in a fall from his beloved mountain bike and lay in very critical condition, with Cheney in the wings, are "mini" procedures to be used, or fly in the very finest of support teams?

Of, course, when dealing with a mini brain.......

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 4, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

On this morning's "Morning Edition" on NPR, I heard some variant of the phrase "the surge is working", unchallenged, at least three times, including a plug for a story about why the surge is working "at least militarily".

Sigh. This is the allegedly liberal NPR. I guess, liberal in the sense of Pollack and O'Hanlon.

Posted by: Joe Buck on September 4, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I no longer give money to NPR. I instead give a generous donation to my local community radio station that broadcasts Pacifica news and Democracy Now! I still listen to NPR, but I will not give them one thin dime so long as they continue shilling like the M$M for this criminal president and his illegal war.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 4, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats and media seem to be pulling out all the stops on Petraeus and the surge. It doesn't help that some Democrats have gone over to the Dark Side, either.

I smell fear.

Posted by: monkeybone on September 4, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS: People dump any Democrats who think the surge might be working, and they dump newspapers and news stations that think the surge might be working.

When it gets to the point where you're throwing NPR over the rail, it might be time to think about your own position.

At this rate, you'll be a Green Party voter by 2008.

Posted by: monkeybone on September 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

At this rate, you'll be a Green Party voter by 2008.

HaHaHaHaHa! Not bloody likely.

I just won't give money to NPR so long as Tomlinson's fingerprints remain on the glass of the broadcast booth.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 4, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

HaHaHaHaHa! Not bloody likely.

Going to vote for Hillary, then? Someone who you know full well will sell out your ideals for a three-figure contribution?

Posted by: monkeybone on September 4, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Not in the Primary. But I will vote for the Democratic nominee in the General. (Yes, even if it is Hillary. I am, however committed to another candidate for the Primary Season.

I presume you will vote for the Republican, no matter who that is, regardless of whether the eventual nominee was your primary choice.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 4, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

How about Bush's definitions of success. It is all about the son/father relationship--clearly observable in the younger's desire to at least match or outmatch the father's
monetary gains
from various speeches following the presidency.

This is as Oedipal as it gets.

Posted by: consider wisely and vote democratic on September 4, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK
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