A few other pieces excerpted via today's "Today in Iraq", apparently one of the few places that bothers to deliver daily war news anymore.
In sum, listen to the experts. Those commanders on the ground, in the theater, or in the know, and who aren't running for anything...
British officer sounds off. “Colonel Tim Collins, the British commander whose stirring speech to his troops on the eve of the Iraq invasion was reportedly hung on a wall in the Oval Office by George Bush, has criticised the British and US governments over the war. The officer, who has now left the Army, condemned the lack of planning for the aftermath of the conflict and questioned the motives for attacking Iraq. He said abuses against Iraqi civilians were partly the result of ‘leaders of a country, leaders of an alliance' constantly referring to them as the ‘enemy ... rather than treating them as people.' This attitude was inevitably adopted by some soldiers on the ground, he said.”
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale
[A]ccording to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."
Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."
Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."
W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.
"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."
As Josh Marshall said yesterday, "Bush on Iraq: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lyin' eyes?"