Paul Wolfowitz had a speech which got little play today (NYC shooting and the Huseein kids got all the press), in which he essentially told the quagmire crowd and the “Iraq is worse off’ fools (which to date now includes 8 of the 9 Democrat candidates- save Lieberman) that they don’t know what the hell they are talking about:
The entire south and north are impressively stable, and the center is getting better day-by-day. The public food distribution is up and running. There is no food crisis. I might point out we planned for a food crisis; fortunately, there isn’t one. Hospitals nationwide are open. Doctors and nurses are at work. Medical supply convoys are escorted to and from the warehouses. We planned for a health crisis; there isn’t one. Oil production has passed the 1 million barrels per day mark. We planned for the possibility of massive destruction of this resource of the Iraqi people; we didn’t have to do it.
The school year has been salvaged. Schools nationwide have reopened and final exams are complete. There are local town councils in most major cities and major districts of Baghdad, and they are functioning free from Ba’athist influence.
There’s been a lot of talk that there was no plan. There was a plan, but as any military officer can tell you, no plan survives first contact with reality. Inevitably, some of our assumptions turned out to be wrong. Fortunately, many things turned out to be much better than our assumptions, in no small measure, I think, because of a brilliant military plan that achieved extraordinary surprise.
There is no humanitarian crisis. There is no refugee crisis. There is no health crisis. There has been minimal damage to — to infrastructure; minimal war damage, lots of regime damage over decades, but minimal war damage to infrastructure except for telecommunications, which we had to target. There has been no environmental catastrophe, either from oil well fires or from dam breaks. And there has been no need for massive oil field repair.
So, fortunately, much of what we planned for, much of what’s captured in the title of the initial office, Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, what we planned for and budgeted for, has not proved necessary.
Nanny nanny boo boo, in other words. He also admitted to some problems and unexpected issues:
But some important assumptions turned out to underestimate the problem. Some conditions were worse than we anticipated, particularly in the security area, and there are three.
No Army units, at least none of any significant size, came over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi forces with us today. Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul. Third, and worst of all, it was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting. Fighting what has been sometimes called a guerrilla war. It’s only a guerrilla war in certain similarity of tactics. But even at the tactical level, I believe this will go down as the first guerrilla tactic in history in which contract killings, killings for hire, going out and soliciting young men for $500 to take a shot at an American, was the principal tactic employed.
In spite of a security situation that was difficult to anticipate, we are making significant progress, as yesterday’s events demonstrate. The north and south are extraordinarily stable, and the 101st Air Assault Division and the 1st Marine Division are doing extraordinary civil military work.
In the center, in Baghdad, the 3rd Armored Division in Baghdad and the 4th Infantry Division in what’s sometimes called the Sunni heartland are demonstrating great progress, particularly in the critical area of getting intelligence that allows us to hunt down the mid-level Ba’athists that are hiring those killers. And even in Fallujah, which is unquestionably the toughest area we’ve encountered, the 3rd Infantry Division is making notable progress.
Overall, we encountered a remarkably positive reception in the Shi’a heartland, the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. So far — and I underscore “so far” — the Shi’a extremists and the Iranians don’t seem to be getting much traction in the Shi’a heartland.
There’s a similar situation in the northern regions, and what was perhaps most remarkable, although I think it’s still fragile, is the extraordinary stability that’s been achieved in the city of Kirkuk, where we have feared from the beginning the possibility of ethnic conflict, perhaps the one place in Iraq where it is most likely. We have a city with large populations, not only of Sunni Arabs but of Sunni Kurds, of Turks and Christians.
In fact, we had a very moving meeting with the members of the town council and a few other independents that had been invited. When it came the turn of one old Arab to speak, in his black robes with the classic gold embroidery and a white kaffiyeh with a black band around his head, he began to talk about how “it wasn’t just the Kurds who were oppressed by Saddam; we were all oppressed by Saddam.” He thanked the president and the coalition forces for their liberation, and I thought, “Okay, and now comes ‘we Arabs deserve consideration as well.'” And the most extraordinary thing was, this old Arab said the Kurds were driven out of their homes, and they’re entitled to their homes back. I don’t know if that’s representative, but it was powerful.
It’s still a fragile achievement. Kirkuk now is run by its own police force, but we have to work every day to try to make sure that the appetite for correcting things — that need for Kurds to get back to their homes, for example — is managed in a peaceful way.
Also discussed were the pressing future issues:
Our biggest remaining challenges, beyond the security issue — and in fact, you can’t separate these from the security issue, because electricity shortages contribute to security problems, and sabotage contributes to electricity shortages; you have to address these things together — but if I can say, along with the direct attack on the mid-level Ba’athists, our biggest remaining challenges are, number one, electricity; number two, jobs and unemployment; and number three, the domination of the local media by hostile sources, including, from the outside world, from Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia and some other unhelpful foreign broadcasts.
Including the BBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, Terry McAuliffe and any press release or statement from any of the Democrat candidates or mebers of the House or Senate, the NY Times, and a host of other noxious sources.
I’m glad to read the operation was a success from an unbiased source. (heh)
I haven’t seen this addressed in too many places yet, which is a shame.
Sure, Andrew, because everyone knows that since he’s biased, it’s a given that he’s going to lie about it. Especially considering that no one at all from left of center is going to call him on it.