Compiled by Sunaina Gulati for CNN
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(CNN) -- The Iraq Study Group's long-awaited report on how the U.S. should overhaul its effort in Iraq will be released on Wednesday. The group's study is seen as the first major bipartisan effort to rethink military and political options in Iraq, where increasing violence has raised questions about the viability of the Iraqi government and U.S. policy.
The New York Times says that of the many tasks that faced the Iraq Study Group, the most vexing perhaps is to pinpoint the exact moment when everything in Iraq started to go wrong. As the invasion has been portrayed as well planned and executed, the post-invasion strategy is seen as poorly thought and undermanned. The idea is that hidden somewhere in the weeks and months following the arrival of American forces in Baghdad lies a magic moment when Iraq somehow began to descend into chaos.
"In fact, the short fight to get to Baghdad and the long one in which coalition forces have been engaged ever since have much in common. All the information about the nature of the trouble to come was apparent from the very first days of the war. If lessons learned then had been incorporated into military and political thinking, it would have injected a much needed dose of realism at an early stage."
The Financial Times says that on President Bush's desk, alongside the Iraq Study Group report there is also the Donald Rumsfeld's memo on the conduct of the military operations in Iraq, submitted just prior to his sudden dismissal. Both tell him in effect that "mission accomplished" has turned into mission bust.
"The real importance of both documents is in what they do not say explicitly but implicitly convey: That the war has been a disaster; that the U.S. must find a way to disengage by handing over the mess it created to the Iraqi leaders that the U.S. itself had elevated to power; and that eventually the U.S. may have to leave while blaming those same leaders for the U.S. failure to cope. That notion is implicit even in some of Mr. Rumsfeld's options and it is inherent in the 16-month deadline set by the Baker-Hamilton group for eventual U.S. military disengagement."
In other news about Iraq, The Boston Globe says that America has been consumed by semantic silliness over whether the catastrophe in Iraq is a civil war. It seems the Bush administration's strategy of wishful thinking is not new.
"Perhaps the most bizarre example of the administration's wishful thinking is described in George Packer's book "The Assassin's Gate." "Shiite power was the key to the whole neo-conservative vision for Iraq," Packer wrote. "The more numerous Shiites had always been ruled by Sunnis in Iraq, but in the new dawn of neo-conservative power the belief arose "that the Shia and the Jews, oppressed minorities in the region, could do business, and that traditional Iraqi Shiism ... could lead the way to reorienting the Arab world towards America and Israel ... This thinking ran high up the policy chain at the Pentagon," according to Packer. "Today, Shiite militias are the bane of American designs for Iraq."
Britain and Trident
In the UK, the Guardian says that the decision to replace Trident nuclear weapons has nothing to do with Britain's status and all to do with denying the Tories ammunition.
"David Cameron may be letting the sun shine in, but one false step from Labour on this and he, Liam Fox, David Davis, Lord Tebbit and all the rest will thunder that Labour has returned to its true CND origins: After Blair, here comes prehistoric old Labour. So Blair's new Trident will get through on Tory votes."
The Independent however takes a different view, saying the decision was foolish and made in haste.
"The prime minister's announcement that Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent is to be renewed was as disappointing as it was unsurprising. Whatever arguments Mr Blair marshalled yesterday to justify the spending of £20 billion or so on new submarines, we find the arguments on the other side a good deal more compelling. The Trident system was conceived and built to combat a particular threat: that presented by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Today's Russia may not be the benign Western-orientated state we had hoped for after the collapse of the USSR, but it is not the threatening superpower of old either."
Afghanistan -- the good war?
Afghanistan was supposed to be the good war says The New York Times. However, as violence continues to surge, the war that America was winning is going wrong because of the Bush administration's inattention and mismanagement.
"Mr. Bush's decision to rush off to invade Iraq meant that Afghanistan would be shortchanged when it came to resources and to policy makers' priority lists. The cost of that inattention can be seen in the failing Afghan police force. It can also be seen in the Taliban's growing strength, the mounting death toll of Afghan civilians and NATO troops, and the unraveling of the Karzai government. So much for winning the good war."
Paying a price for Googleability
While the benefits of Google are widely appreciated, Donna Steinbraker writing for the International Herald Tribune says the search engine is slowly becoming synonymous with the village gossip par excellence.
"All the Googler needs is a name, and she's off. It's worse if your name is unusual, as mine is. The difference in Googleability between a person with the name "Mary Smith" and a person with my name makes me wonder whether Googleability might one day affect how parents name their children. If Mary Smith had been named, instead, Upanishad Smith, she'd be more Googleable. Of course, that's not to guarantee she'd do anything Googleworthy. But what will future conscientious parents decide? Will Googleability or anonymity be the greater gift?"
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