As fighting rages in Basra, the White House is unleashing a forceful spin campaign to frame the Iraqi government's offensive there as a positive outcome of the U.S. troop surge and a symbol of better days to come.
Speaking to an invitation-only audience at an Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, this morning, President Bush argued that the Basra incursion "shows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge" and "demonstrates to the Iraqi people that their government is committed to protecting them. . . .
"The enemy, you know, will try to fill the TV screens with violence," he scoffed. "But the ultimate result will be this: Terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society."
Violence going down means the surge is succeeding, but violence increasing means the same thing, you see. You'd think they didn't realize that the military is merely attempting to clean out one militia to make Basra open for another.
Whitehouse's assertion is bizarre. This fighting looks pretty clearly like a fight between rival faction for power perhaps prompted by the hidden hand of Iran or the coming elections as theories suggest. The Whitehouse's version of event is cynical spin, and like all spin from this administration only serves to gloss over what is really happening. We are stuck fighting as a proxy for with an Iran-backed militia against a nationalist militia. Our government seems to understand neither of these groups.
From Juan Cole's website.
Al-Zaman says reports are circulating that the Iraqi army has committed atrocities throughout the south, conducting mass executions in many places, including Basra and Kut.
It also says that there is a humanitarian crisis developing in the neighborhoods that the Iraqi army is besieging in Basra, with women, children and old folks trapped and food and potable water running low.
This is the determination the Iraqi government has to protect it's citizens.