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Monday, March 21, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld, when pressed about insufficient troop levels in Iraq at the time of the invasion, recently had the opportunity to own up to his mistakes. Instead, he punted:

'The fault, Mr. Rumsfeld contended in two appearances on television talk shows, rested with Turkey, a NATO ally, which would not give permission for the Fourth Infantry Division to cross its territory and open a northern front at the start of the war in March 2003.' (link)

Let us, for a moment, consider how Turkey might view such a charge. There is now sitting on their border a large and well-armed Kurdish force which has received some rather advanced training from the Israelis. These Kurds are being used for incursions into Iran, but also represent a threat to Turkey due to the large Kurdish population there and its disaffection (certainly understandable) with the Turkish government. Do you, being Turkish and not particularly appreciative of this turn of events, take what Mr. Rumsfeld said as a threat? What's his purpose here, aside from misdirecting criticism that he's richly and rightly earned? We have to wonder, although this administration often trots out such smoke-screen tactics when it wants to either cover for something else or give everyone yet another rationale that'll last a week or so before it gets shot down by reality. And the truth is, the timing of the Iraqi operation was all on the U.S. -- Turkey is to blame only if one assumes that the U.S. had to act _immediately_. If not, then it's a question of logistics (albeit large and complicated logistics) to get those troops moved someplace other than Turkey. Then again, I don't think the administration really planned on the Turks not cooperating. What sort of cards does the Bush administration plan to play? And, again, is there an implicit threat in what Rumsfeld has said? I am not sure, although I tend to think there may be more going on and this is only surfacing because the U.S. is trying to shore up its hand...

Andrew 1:57 AM : |


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