Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Troops May Come Home Soon Version #9,824

Success in forming a new Iraqi government may let some U.S. troops leave the war zone within months, the top American military commander in Iraq said Wednesday. Paying a surprise visit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld embraced the country's fledgling leaders as independent and focused on the future.

Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. military commander, said selection of government leaders marked a major step toward creating conditions that could allow a partial withdrawal.

"I'm still on my general timeline" for a possible withdrawal, he told reporters after meeting with Rumsfeld.

Casey used no figures. There are about 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and military officials have spoken before of their hopes of reducing that number below 100,000 by the end of the year if the insurgency does not grow worse and if Iraq makes continued progress on political and security fronts.
Judging by Bush's approval rating, the dangling carrot appears to be getting a bit mossy at this point.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bush Administration [sic] may well need to pull troops out due to declining recruitment and rising injuries... but their Supplemental "Emergency" funding requests for the war (--how does anyone let them get away with calling it that?) -- roughly double the funding for troop deployment and base construction. Maybe we'll see a few televised tearful homecomings, but in the long term, the Administration's [sic] money is where their mouth isn't.

4/27/2006 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people are desperate. In six months or a year when troops are still there, this event will be lost in the forest of deception. All for the elusive hope to gain a few points in the polls.
Pretty sad.

4/27/2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Bravo 2-1 said...

Normally, I agree with most of what you say. Moreover, as a semi-prominent Blogger, you can do an important service in the 2006 elections (Re: Your recent post).

Also, I agree the administration uses troop statistics to try and cool the political heat.

But, when you look at the published sources, General Casey is right to say he is on pace. Check the Washington Post in February of 2005 and The Guardian in August of the same year.

For the recent elections (four months plus ago) the troop levels were brought up to 160,000. Now, the troop levels are at 130,000, which the Guardian and the New York Times anticipated. The additional draw down of some tens of thousands of troops was also planned by the end of 2006, according to late summer 2005.

So, the troop drawdown is going according to plan. But, this Iraq campaign has demonstrated that "going to plan" is not necessarily a sign of success.

The issue is that the security situation in Iraq does not warrant a troop drawdown. We have never had sufficient forces to deal with all the issues in that country -- with the one exception of knocking Saddam's depleted military across the desert. Moreover, Murtha and others have noted how thinned the military is; it's denied by the usual spinmeisters, but there are numerous reports to counter that nonsense. Lastly, the military leaders want a smaller footprint and believe it has to be resolved politically, if it can be resolved at all.

Another troubling aspect beyond the security situation is that the White House wants to hype small steps as large leaps in progress. The formation (or beginning of formation) of an Iraqi government was treated as a banner moment with two Cabinet level officers touring the country. In truth, of course, the numerous and deep problems remain within the country. The administration seems to want to duct tape a settlement together -- or make it look like that -- and call it something near success.

Which brings us back to your other post on 2006's elections.

4/27/2006 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read an interesting article, that says there isn't 1 group of insurgents, but "20 groups of insurgents, including nationalists, former Baathists, tribal-based insurgents and religious extremists".

This is how this administration supports the troops: "$1.2 million: The collective debt owed by almost 900 battle-injured soldiers to the Department of Defense. These debts have “resulted in significant hardships” to the soldiers and their families, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

I could not image a worse situation than having Bush and Rumsfeld as your boss, and your life is in their hands. Icks!

4/28/2006 4:29 PM  
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