Morning Report: May 23, 2004

- US forces enter Kufa. (Fox) American forces battled the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr in Muqty’s stronghold of Kufa on Sunday night, with 18 known fatalities. Fox reports that there was also fighting in Najaf, but Karbala was quiet.
- Ali on “real Iraqis.” (Iraq the Model) Ali ponders the meaning of an anti-American demonstration in Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, which drew a half-million people purportedly in solidarity with the “oppressed Iraqis”.
- Bush and the three elephants. (Belmont Club) When President Bush addresses the Army War College tomorrow (Monday), he will do so in the shadow of three “elephants in the living room”, Wretchard says. These are the unacknowledged proxy war with Syria, that with Iran, and the UN corruption scandal. The last item is the most interesting, because the BC cites a claim that Chalabi “is in possession of ... documents with the potential to expose politicians, corporations and the United Nations”. More on this angle to follow.
- Bush and the three blunders. (Ledeen/NRO) Michael Ledeen looks at events of recent weeks, and he’s not happy with what he sees. “We have adopted our enemies’ view of the world,” this article begins. Referring the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, Ledeen writes that “torture, and the belief in its efficacy, are the way our enemies think.” Fallujah was “a strategic retreat,” which will embodeden our enemies to attack us again – while some “crackpot realists” in the military and senior officials in State and Defense propose adopting the “Fallujah model” in the future. Finally, Ledeen says that Chalabi was “an Iraqi leader of unquestioned democratic convictions”, who was seen as a threat by both our enemies and the CIA and State Department, precisely for that reason: “he is independent and while he is happy to work with [CIA and State], he will not work for them.” Ledeen argues that only a firm commitment to democratic ideals, and not appeasement (or emulation) of our enemies, will win this war.
- Arab summit: road to nowhere? (Debka) As reported here on May 4, the Arab League looks to be headed for the dustbin of history. The summit, finally getting off the ground in Tunis after being rescheduled, is proving to be less than the impressive show of unity its supporters might have hoped for. Debka now reports that only 13 of 22 leaders showed up, and Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi walked out after a half-hour.