Last Thursday the Pentagon launched "Operation Swarmer"–described as the largest air assault in Iraq since March 2003. I was at a conference on Iraq at the Center for American Progress and saw the news flashing repeatedly on CNN, MSNBC and Fox. The timing, a few days before the war’s 3rd anniversary and amidst a torrent of negative opinion polling for the Bush Administration–seemed highly suspicious.
Well, this Operation, like so much of what the Administration has told us about the war, turned out to be a lie. According to reporters on the ground from Time magazine:
There were no air strikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the US and Iraqi commanders.
Moreover, former AP correspondent Christopher Albritton writes that the targeted area north of Samarra has been "swept/contained/pacified/cleared five or six times since 2004." Operation Swarmer "was designed to show off the new Iraqi Army–although there was no enemy for them to fight." There were as many troops, fifteen hundred, as residents in the desolate area. No wonder Albritton termed the mission "Operation Overblown."
It’s reassuring to know where our $300 billion are going. Aren’t there enough threats in Iraq that we don’t need to fight nonexistent ones?