March 31, 2006
According to Baghdad Burning, the infiltration of Iraqi security forces by militias has gotten out of hand, and not even the Iraqi government can trust them. Apparently fake uniforms and insignia are confusing people about who really is or isn't an official police officer or soldier. The following announcement was broadcast on TV:
The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians do not comply with the orders of the army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area.
Link via Belmont Club, which says it's "Crunch time in Iraq." (I had a similar experience at the airport in Lima, Peru in 1994, with private guards in brown uniforms who were performing official customs inspections duties. It's rather unnerving if you don't know your way around.)
While visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in England, Secretary of State Rice acknowledged multiple tactical mistakes in the war in Iraq, "thousands of them, I'm sure," but emphasized that that the fundamental strategic decision was correct. See BBC. That echoes my perspective exactly. It probably won't convince any of the anti-Bush/anti-U.S. crowd, but it should reassure sensible moderates and thoughtful skeptics that at least the administration is listening to critics. Now if President Bush could only speak with as much candor, perhaps his approval ratings would rebound.
An article by James Lacey in the April National Review, "The Threat Saddam Posed," reminds us that there was in fact a great deal of evidence on Iraq's WMD programs that was gathered by the Iraqi Survey Group. Reasonable people can interpret such evidence in different ways, but it is hard to understand the Democrats' inclination to err on the down side in WMD capability estimates, given the huge risk of doing so.