Green Zone commander General George Casey and his predecessor, 5th Corps Commander in Germany, Lt General Ricardo Sanchez are both Most Excellent Yes Men on Iraq. Yet, they publicly disagreed this week. Sanchez told troops on their way to a tour in Iraq that "Iraq was on the verge of civil war."
In Washington, the President and his advisors, dreaming and then prosecuting the invasion and occupation of Iraq, still live in a fantasy world of their own making. It is a happy place. In this world, General Casey may positively say that Iraq is not on the verge of civil war, and that we are have won, are winning, and are going to keep on winning for as long as it takes. In this world, we have a great big strategy for all that endless winning in Iraq.
In the other world, people like Sanchez have to send young men and women back into the stupid deadly maelstrom of Iraq, and in this world soldiers are getting wise to their idiot masters in Washington. Sanchez tells these soldiers something closer to the truth.
Of course, the real truth is uglier than simple civil war. The destruction of a sovereign Iraq was the primary objective of this war - and that mission has in fact been accomplished. Bush was and remains correct from the moment he famously landed on an aircraft carrier and announced, "Mission Accomplished." Subsequent presidential medals, awards and profuse praise for his Iraq war planners and leaders are consistent and just in this regard. The cost in human lives, spirit, and hope on all sides, as well as the financial cost may not have been worth it for those "piling on" and going "defeatist" in the reality based world, but who cares?
The reality-based world is an ugly place. The Casey-said, Sanchez-said debate prefigures a year ahead that may be remembered as the year the reality-based world rudely intruded on the Potomac, shattering what is left of the façade and completely exploding the myth that Bush-Cheney policies have made either the Middle East more democratic, or America safer.