But just as we should not overreact to the Devlin report, we should listen to it and heed its advice. I concur with Devlin’s remarks. The trend line for casualties in Iraq has a positive slope line (see Statistical Evaluation of Casualties in Iraq). I have commented here in The Consequences of Inadequate Force Projection that lack of force projection, along with rules of engagement that cause our troops to be hamstrung (with Marines reporting that “A lot of us feel like we have our hands tied behind our back“), are the two most serious impediments to victory in Anbar, and in fact, all of Iraq. With the current force projection and rules of engagement, the U.S. will not win.
As before, I say that the U.S. is getting out, or getting serious. Getting serious requires robust rules of engagement and proper force projection.
ABC News’ latest exclusive reveals information so painfully obvious (I hope) that it’s almost silly:
U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.
This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. “There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval,” says a senior official.
Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq’s growing Shia militias from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.
Evidence is mounting, too, that the most powerful militia in Iraq, Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army, is receiving training support from the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hezbollah.
At this point Democrats have to be wondering how they can slap a muzzle on someone with Pelosi’s visibility:
David Gregory: “Iraq’s worsening civil war will dominate the President’s meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Concluding his visit to Estonia earlier today, Mr. Bush blamed the violence not on civil war but on Sunni terrorists.”
President Bush at a press conference in Estonia: “There’s a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of these attacks by al Qaeda, causing people to seek reprisal. And we will work with the Maliki government to defeat these elements.”
Gregory: “Back in Washington, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed, warning that such rhetoric about al Qaeda will make it harder for Democrats to work with the White House.”
Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The 9/11 Commission dismissed that notion a long time ago and I feel sad that the President is resorting to it again.”
She seems determined to give Howard Dean and O.J. Simpson a run for their money.