i came across an article today on salon about some documents from the now extinct Coalition Provisional Authority. while the article is interesting insofar as it makes readers aware of the wealth of information available on the CPA website, i found myself skimming through it looking for the pearls, of which there are a few.
on pearl in particular i want to discuss here, if only briefly. in the article, the author talks about a document he found giving various explanations for a decrease in violence in the Anbar province:
Microsoft Word’s “Mark up” feature shows the time and date of the deletion and the identity of the person doing the deleting, but it doesn’t give the original author of the passage or when it was written. The title and hints in the text point to a memo written by one person in December 2003 or January 2004, when daily attacks on coalition forces in Anbar, the heavily Sunni province west of Baghdad that is the heartland of the insurgency, were the lowest in many months. These were the CPA’s salad days. Prior to the al-Sadr uprising and the Abu Ghraib scandal and the failed siege of Fallujah later in 2004, the CPA believed that it was succeeding in reshaping Iraq. In his book “The Assassins’ Gate,” George Packer depicts late 2003 and early 2004 as the last phase of quiet isolation for the CPA, before the facts on the ground began to impinge on its Green Zone idyll. “Why Are the Attacks Down” shows the CPA on the cusp, as the author gives a half-dozen different theories for the short-term decline in violence.
i have to admit i find the fact that they have several theories amusing, though i understand that any or all (or none) of their guesses could have contributed to the downswing in violence. however, the one i find particularly interesting (and amusing) is the one which refers to the notion that insurgents may be quieting down because they thought we were leaving:
“What they” — meaning the Iraqis — “have gotten wrong,” says the memo’s author, “is the idea that the military will be leaving Iraq in June, which one individual said he was sure was a major factor in the diminishing attacks. Oh well, this is one time it might be best that folks don’t fully understand things.”
i’ve read this bit a few times now, and i chuckle every time. ‘why,’ you ask? well, i chuckle because nowadays any notion that we should leave iraq is countered by the administration with (among may reasons) the insistence that, if we were to in fact leave, violence would erupt (the author of the article points this out, as well). apparently bush hasn’t read this (or probably any) document from the CPA. the man doesn’t read.
this could mean one of three things. one, the nature of the conflict and violence in iraq has changed since this document was printed (i can’t see how). two, either bush isn’t aware this document exists, or just hasn’t read it (given his record, this is completely plausible). three, he is aware of this document (though i still doubt he actually read it) and is simply has no intention of leaving and is trying to scare the American public into staying in iraq.
the point is this: you can’t believe a single word that comes out of the mouth of that man. the same goes for any and all the cronies in his administration. so, if the US were to withdraw from iraq, the violence would probably decline.
while i haven’t tested it to great extent, i think it is safe practice to believe the exact opposite of whatever idea or policy on which the bush administration is trying to sell you.