"the Iraqis wanted to do this by themselves and I can understand our commanders certainly letting them go ahead and give it a try, but I suspect that at a minimum we'll probably have to provide some rather significant enablers to assist them...."He might as well have said, "the Pentagon would like to handle all the reporting out of Iraq, but since we have to pretend that we have a vigorous free press in this country, I suspect at a minimum they'll have to rely on some rather significant enablers like you and Robert Siegel..."
There was no mention given of Keane's extreme Bush-right positions and his affiliation with the militarist American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Needless to say, there were no dissenting opinions raised about the role of the US in Iraq and in this particular series of events. Inskeep might as well have been Keane's AEI office assistant with these kinds of questions:
- "Were you impressed with Iraq's preparations?"
- "Are you saying...al-Maliki had the right idea, to try to grab control of this very important southern city...but may not have coordinated it well with the American assets."
- "OK, so are American troops needed then in Basra?"
- "He's got the right idea, the execution I think may be a little wanting...they can still get this right as time evolves...war is a trial and error...they're in the lead here and we're in support."
- "...what works best is when US forces and Iraqi forces are working side by side together, that kind of partnership that has certainly produced the rather dramatic results...."
- "...the entire [Iraqi] military - though it's made significant progress, and I'm encouraged by how much progress they've made...."