There’s not much to look at this morning.
Much of it is irrelevant. Some of it is vile. And all of it is a continuation of the same.
Some cases in point:
The Dutch are confusedly liberal:
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch smoking ban will come into force in July next year for all restaurants and cafes — including coffee shops where cannabis is the top attraction, the government decided on Friday. “Coffee shops will be treated in the same manner as other catering businesses. They will be smoke-free,” Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told NOS television
Christian world leaders are polite to one another:
Bush said his meeting with the pope, in which the president stressed his record in fighting AIDS and supporting other humanitarian causes, was a “moving experience.”
And the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade is still as uncontrollable and senseless as ever:
Saturday’s daytime attack was carried out jointly by Islamic Jihad and a unit of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
This raid was huge, involving action-movie tactics with disguised trucks and mechanized assaults and artillery. It was done in the day time, presumably so that the Israeli troops wouldn’t have the advantage of their night-vision, or so that al-Aqsa could have the proper lighting to record videos for their website. It achieved exactly nothing.
And my favorite part:
“The attack comes as a natural reaction to the Zionist crimes and assassinations against fighters in Gaza and the West Bank,” Abu Ali said.
Those “Zionist crimes” of late being /what/, Abu? Attacking your enemies, HAMAS, so that they didn’t annihilate you in the civil war in Gaza?
Or HAMAS thinking of cutting a ceasefire? Is that what’s got you in high dudgeon? No worries, Abu! That ceasefire won’t hold! Israel will break it whenever it feels like it, or some militant lone-wolf like you will give them an excuse to!
As if to underscore this, more of the same happened in Baghdad as well.
But to be sure to note where these attacks are taking place. They hit the fringes of Baghdad, and into Diyala province. Militarily, the surge is doing what is expected in this first stage – pushing the enemy out of the suburbs and into the exurbs. That is not ‘more of the same’ in the grand scheme of the tactical debacle of Iraq.
Yet all of this means very little if the political debacle doesn’t show change as well. Giving Baghdad’s outlying areas more security will not save the nation if Baghdad’s core is rotten. And with Turkish troops pressuring the government, the Kurds pressuring the government, and the government unwilling or unable to do anything about accomodating the increasingly isolated and radical Sunni, that rot does not stand to regenerate with outside help.
What value is there in a new day for Iraq if every day starts off with its heart poisoned?
Tactical problems have been engaged. Iran has been engaged. Now the USA must engage the real object of our military adventure, the Iraqi government, and show it through direct action that whatever our expressed purpose, we came to Iraq for change, not just more of the same.