Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When Up Is Down

....and left is right, and timetables are---well, you know:
Sunday, August 7:

Troop cuts in Iraq feasible - House Republican

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States might be able to remove up to 30,000 troops from Iraq by next spring as the Iraqi military gets stronger, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee said on Sunday.

Separately, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Time magazine that Iraqi insurgents were losing steam as a political force even though their ability to kill and maim appeared undiminished.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" it was feasible to begin planning for U.S. troop reductions of that size even though recent deadly attacks have again raised questions about whether Washington has underestimated the Iraqi insurgency.

Reports indicate "there is a growing strong core of strength in the Iraqi military, that it's standing and fighting, that it's doing its share of the load," Hunter said.

Rice said the Iraqi insurgency was losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

And now Monday, August 8
:
Pentagon Expects to Send More Iraq Troops

WASHINGTON (AP) - Anticipating a new burst of insurgent violence, the Pentagon plans to expand the U.S. force in Iraq to improve security for a planned October referendum and a December election.

Although much public attention has been focused recently on the prospect of reducing U.S. forces next spring and summer, defense officials foresee the likelihood of first increasing troop levels.

Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, noted Monday that troop levels were raised last January during Iraq's first elections, and then returned to the current level of about 138,000 several weeks later.

"It's perfectly plausible to assume we'll do the same thing for this election," he said, while stressing that no decisions had been made.

Di Rita said he did not know how many extra troops might be needed during the referendum and election period.

"The units that are there have been told to expect that," he said. "It's possible that your planned rotation dates back to the U.S. will be affected by the need to keep a higher level for a longer period of time."
Is anyone else noticing that reassuring intimations about possible withdrawals have been coming immediately after particularly deadly stretches for U.S. troops like the one last week? Then, after a bit of happy talk tamps down the public's anxiety, it's back to business as usual.

Then again, I guess Condi's claims about the insurgency "losing" in any way, shape or form probably rendered inoperative comments about withdrawal or anything else from the administration on that day. No, it wasn't quite "last throes" redux. But have we somehow not learned by now that the ultimate success of an insurgency such as this---at least as far as our involvement is concerned---is not predicated on those we are fighting actually "winning" anything?

28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing... anyone call this a flip-flop?

Whatever happened to the "no timetables" because it aids the "enemy".

Watch what they do, not what they say...

8/10/2005 12:59 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Gee, do you think the need for increased troop levels in the fall has anything to do with Rumsfeld's claim that weapons are definitely, undeniably, without a doubt coming from Iran?

I just read the remarks made by Clinton, Pelosi and Dean at the 2005 AIPAC Policy Conference in May. They're 100%, without a doubt, sure that Iran is the biggest threat facing America and Israel today.

The troops ain't coming home.

8/10/2005 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Until the US says what it is doing with the permanent bases no one can say of the troops are coming home. It would be nice if someone asked that question.

8/10/2005 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a difference a day makes.

Sigh.

8/10/2005 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

truly incredible!!

8/10/2005 9:06 AM  
Anonymous m osman said...

its getting crazy when the repub talk radio chicken hawks start faltering

8/10/2005 9:23 AM  
Anonymous ctbill said...

Yes, I noticed the same thing about the timing of "hints" about bringing the troops home. So pathetic.

And another five troops killed today.

8/10/2005 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the credibility of the White House and the Pentagon falls further, does anyone think we will begin to see some VERY large protests domestically?

8/10/2005 12:29 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

TCR, respectfully, the insurgency and Al Queda are 'winning' exactly what they have talked about and have done to the Soviet Union in the past and that is bleeding our republic dry of not only money, but much, much more.

nathanbutnet.blogspot.com

8/10/2005 12:36 PM  
Blogger Chris F. said...

This is amazing. Smoke and mirror distraction techniques, WITHOUT the smoke and mirrors...I can't believe how much this administration has been able to get away with, given how transparently they make attempts to deceive the American public.

My biggest question: Who are they fooling? And why are those people fooled?

My second biggest question: How stupid does this administration believe I am, as an active, voting citizen? My god. Of course the Iraq thing isn't working. The tactic is immoral at its core and it's based on theatrical techniques and nothing more. Shock and awe, without the shock or awe! We need either to commit ourselve 100% to bowling over the insurgency or get out completely. Then let's focus on the real war on terror...Afghanistan!

8/10/2005 2:12 PM  
Anonymous thirdeye said...

Ok, now which shell is the pellet under?

8/10/2005 3:04 PM  
Anonymous howard said...

here's what i like: the "quite progress" that rice spoke of as manifested by the militia throwing out the mayor of baghdad.

rice, like all the other key admin people in the iraq disaster, is a proven liar. how these people sleep at night is beyond me.

8/10/2005 5:28 PM  
Anonymous howard said...

er, "quiet progress" not "quite progress."

8/10/2005 5:29 PM  
Anonymous tutor said...

Yes, the Baghdad mayor matter is pretty incredible. We're winning, eh?

8/10/2005 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good news is that judging by the polls, Americans are really waking up to this crap. I think this country is on the verge of a major groundswell of protest. At least I hope so.

8/10/2005 7:35 PM  
Anonymous ctbill said...

A few months ago, TCR wrote about the dynamic of happy talk between bad periods in Iraq. Then reality hits, then happy talk gradually resumes. That observation was on the mark, as we increasingly see.

8/10/2005 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is anyone else noticing that reassuring intimations about possible withdrawals have been coming immediately after particularly deadly stretches for U.S. troops like the one last week?"

I didn't really notice that.

I believe that this troop withdrawal proposal is part of the buildup to invading iran. First the claim that the new president or whatever of Iran led the hostage-taking in 1979 (trying to make a new saddam-esque villain?). Then some claims about Iran's nuclear capabilities (another WMD scare tactic). Now all of a sudden Iraqi police and military can handle things themselves.

All Bush needs to leave in Iraq is enough troops to guard the oil, that's all he really cares about. On to Iran.

8/11/2005 1:00 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

As for that draw-down of troops, I found this particular passage most confusing:

And by midweek, a senior American military official in Baghdad, speaking to The Washington Post under a condition of anonymity, said that Iraq's political and military leaders would not be able to lead the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq until next summer at the earliest.

According to The Post, the military official, referring to the Iraq vote in December, said it was "important to calibrate expectations post-elections." Military officials in Washington said on Thursday that the senior military official quoted was General Casey.


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/12/politics/12prexy.html?pagewanted=print

The only honest accounting was Peter Baker in the Post yesterday. No one knows, and Monday is a big day.

8/13/2005 10:30 AM  
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