Friday, November 24, 2006

A Return Trip Through Your Wires

Juan Cole excerpted an email from "a professional who used to be in Iraq but now is in a nearby country." Cole's correspondent passes along some rumors concerning the recent infiltration of the Green Zone that I mentioned earlier this week. Says Cole's e-mailer:

Another friend, a Sunni sheikh of the Shammar tribe noted to me that thousands of former officers are prepared to assault the G[reen] Z[one]. It is no longer a matter of can they do it, they are only mulling over the timing. The breach of the Green Zone security the other day was a test of their ability to get in, and not a real attempt at a coup, though it is reported as such.

Obviously, this account is to be taken with a grain of salt. But if true in any significant sense, then we could be closer to the nightmare scenario that Suzanne Nossel wondered about. Any such spectacular attack would likely increase the already considerable political pressure on the Bush administration and the reeling GOP to find an escapte hatch from Iraq post-haste.

One of the problems with the dithering, indecisive approach of Bush and the denialists that he insists on surrounding himself with, is that if a singular event such as a massive attack in the Green Zone were to occur, any chance at executing an orderly, measured, and strategically deft withdrawal might be scrapped in favor of a hurried rush to the exits.

Bush might be stalling for the next administration to take the yoke, or waiting for the Baker-Hamilton commission (or his own internal review) to point the way to the pony express, but militant Iraqi factions seem less concerned with extending him this courtesy. Recalcitrant to the end those Iraqis.

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