Thursday, June 19, 2003

First Vases, Now Violence

Once again, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gives a problem his unique perspective .

Three people died violently Wednesday in Baghdad. An American soldier was killed in an attack at a gas stations, and two Iraqis were shot dead by U.S. soldiers who opened fire at stone-throwing protestors outside a presidential palace. The demonstrators, former Iraqi soldiers, were demanding back wages.


About a dozen U.S. servicemen have been killed by hostile fire in Iraq since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1. American military commanders in Iraq say attacks on their forces happen daily, though one commander on Tuesday dismissed the fighting as "militarily insignificant."

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday sought to put a new perspective on the recent deaths and injuries in Iraq, pointing out that Baghdad is a big place with a lower violent crime rate than Washington, D.C.

Then again, Washington D.C. isn't patroled by AN OCCUPYING ARMY, even if Rumsfeld thinks it should be.

"You've got to remember that if Washington, D.C., were the size of Baghdad, we would be having something like 215 murders a month," said Rumsfeld. "There's going to be violence in a big city."

I used to hate it when these kinds of questions were asked about the Clinton administration, but I just can't help it: Is there a strain of insanity in this one? For instance::

Pentagon admits Iraq guerrilla war

In Washington the Bush administration and military commanders differ publicly over the degree of resistance to US occupation in Iraq, but Mr Wolfowitz told Congress: "There's a guerrilla war there but we can win it.


Speaking from Iraq to reporters in Washington, General Ray Ordierno of the 4th Infantry Division said he would not describe the resistance as being of a "guerrilla" nature, dismissing it as "militarily insignificant".

The comments by the Pentagon's top two officials reflect efforts by the White House to prepare the nation for a longer and more hazardous enterprise in Iraq than had been anticipated.

Anticipated by whom? I certainly anticipated it. Atrios did. Josh Marshall did. All sorts of humanitarian NGOs did. Tom Freidman did. Senators Biden, Kerry, & Lieberman did. Max Sawicky did. Kos & co. did. Eric Alterman did. Others way way too numerous to mention did. For heaven's sake, even Chris Matthews did.

Well, at least the President acted, and boldly so. You have to give him that.