My time is limited today, but these deserve a wider airing:
* The Army only recorded the serial numbers of just over 12,000 out of 500,000 weapons delivered to the Iraqi departments of Interior and Defense. No paper trail, nada. That means that any Iraqi who turns around and sells US heavy weapons to his friends in al Qaeda has a greater than 97% chance that nobody can ever trace it back to him. The excuse?
There are standard regulations for registering military weaponry in that way, governed by the Department of Defense small-arms serialization program. The inspector general’s report said that when asked why so many weapons went to Iraq with no record of serial numbers, American military officials in Baghdad replied that they did not believe the regulations applied to them.
Yet another datum showing that America’s war management was not only incompetent in an ordinary sense but positively hideous from top to bottom. You could look practically anywhere, from the Judith Miller-powered deceit during the runup to Rusfeld’s obstinate refusal to plan for postwar operations (neocons told him that Chalabi would take over) to the ideologically blinkered idiots who prevented CPA from doing a single useful thing to the backroom no-bid contracting that ensured that our money would disappear into unaccountable black holes. Everything about this war was done not just wrong but so wrong that you have to wonder whether they wanted to fail. Ugh. Steve Benen has more.
* Glenn Greenwald has a must-read post describing exactly how America managed to sink its international ratings for press freedom from top of the world in ’02 to worse than many third-world countries today. Excerpting doesn’t do it justice.
* Will al Qaeda move to aid the Republicans or won’t they? Among jihadis the idea that scaring the US through tapes or direct action helps Bush is pretty much a no-brainer – the GOP needs Americans scared so that they don’t ask too many questions about torturing detainees and suspending habeas corpus; terrorists scare Americans. Supply and demand. The only question appears to be whether al Qaeda needs the Republicans anymore, or Iraq has bled us so badly that it doesn’t matter who’s in charge.