President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been extremely disappointed by Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah.And the White House is apparently an irony-free zone:
Government sources said the Israeli failure has led to deep pessimism within the National Security Council and Pentagon regarding U.S. goals in the Middle East, particularly the effort to stop Iran's advance in Iraq and toward nuclear weapons. The sources said the Israeli experience has been used by the Pentagon to explain the U.S. difficulty in halting the deterioration of order in Iraq.
"There's a lot of doom and gloom in the White House over the U.S. future in the Middle East," a source said. "Everybody feels there's been a significant strategic shift in favor of the bad guys."
Mr. Bush and his advisers have sought to clarify Israel's standoff with Hezbollah in the 33-day war in Lebanon. Over the last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has avoided meeting Israeli leaders, held an unannounced session with visiting Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres.Funny thing is, "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades:
"The overall impression is that the Israeli government is not the kind of government that provides clear and effective management of war," said Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The same message is one that is being communicated about the senior command of the IDF [Israel’s military]. It was very clear that the government began this war rapidly, without proper preparation, without proper training of the reserves."
The US-led "war on terror" has bolstered Iran's power and influence in the Middle East, especially over its neighbour and former enemy Iraq, a thinktank said today.But, it's not like Bush & Cheney thought the invasion of Lebanon was a good idea:
A report published by Chatham House said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had removed Iran's main rival regimes in the region.
Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its invasion of Lebanon had also put Iran "in a position of considerable strength" in the Middle East, said the thinktank.
President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.And, of course, we all know about the importance of well-trained reserves:
U.S. Increases Troop Level in Iraq to 138,000Nope; no irony here. Nosirree!
The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has increased to 138,000. But the military is facing a tough time finding enough soldiers to fight.
Marines Announce Involuntary Recall of Inactive Members
On Tuesday, the U.S. Marines announced it is beginning an involuntary recall of inactive service members to return to duty and go to Iraq and Afghanistan. This marks the first involuntary recall by the Marines since the early days of the war. As many as 2,500 inactive Marines will be initially recalled.