Today British defense minister John Reid announced the U.K. would be pulling some of their troops out of Iraq. After denying all last week that any plan was afoot to bug out, now the story is they are actually going to leave. Not that this was any secret, on July 13 the FT quoted a senior western diplomat as saying the British would lead the pull out of foreign forces from Iraq beginning next year, in close coordination with the U.S., of course. The diplomat said the “Reid memo's projection that both U.S. and British troop strength could be cut by half might be optimistic but not unrealistic. The FT says, “The proposed timeline assumed that ‘everything went right’ with Iraq’s constitutional referendum and next parliamentary elections…’” This all hinges on “the strength of Iraqi security forces and their ability to take over” the diplomat said.
Somehow, I doubt it. Judging by what’ s going on with the rampant abductions of Sunnis--- whose bodies are soon found with bullets in the back of their heads---by Iraq’s “security forces” I’d say no matter what’s going on Rummy and Co. will find some excuse to pull out. The commanders on the ground are inclined to take this slowly whereas the political leadership at the pentagon is slightly more eager for an early exit. I’m sure there’s a lot of urgency in getting our military the hell out of there while we still have one. But are they really going to pull out? Perish the thought that the occupiers have any imperial ambitions, but…
I just happened to run across a WaPo from October 27 2003 the other day and the there was the usual front page story about, this time, three police stations in Baghdad and the offices of the International Red Cross having been bombed killing 35, on the first day of that year’s Ramadan, no less. President Bush meeting that day with L. Paul Bremer at the White House was quoted as saying of the attackers, they weren’t calling them the insurgents back then, “The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react...because they can’t stand the thought of a free society.” (I’ve never heard that before!)
The Post article writes that Rummy, General Myers and Bremer (Timelines and benchmarks!) were urgently brainstorming their strategy of turning over “security missions to Iraqis soldiers and police forces as quickly as possible.” (Any time now…) It seems the military believed “insurgencies like the one in Iraq coalesce into larger rebellions if allowed to fester. Adding to the need for rapid action, a senior U.S. military official involved in Iraq strategy said yesterday that the pentagon expects to significantly pare its presence in Iraq when major troop rotations come in February. “The feeling is, get it done while we have the assets available, the official said.”
Well, it’s two years later and we’re hearing the same thing but the situation is much worse, so is this just a smoke screen or what? If we “pare down” our forces to 66,000, the number stated in the Reid memo, then what does that mean tactically? The forces we have there now are just barely able to protect themselves, never mind the Iraqi government. Maybe, that is what all that permanent base building is all about. We can’t hold ground we’ve taken with 138,000 troops, as Kenneth Pollack pointed out at a Senate Armed Services committee hearing today, so are we going to garrison our troops on the British imperial model and rely on air power to support the likes of the Badr Brigade and other the Iraqi “security forces” instead?
to the good old days when car bombs came only every other day, not in multiples of ten every day.
Here’s a breakdown of various attacks from Aug 7 to Oct. 26 2003 provided by the October 27th edition of the WaPo:
Aug. 7: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Jordanian Embassy/ 17 killed
Aug 19: Baghdad/ Truck bomb at U.N. headquarters/ 23 killed
Aug 29: Najaf/ Car bomb outside Imam Ali Mosque/ 90 killed
Sep. 2: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police headquarters/ 1 killed
Sep. 9: Irbil/ Car bomb at office used by U.S. officials/ 1 killed
Sep. 22: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside at checkpoint outside U.N. headquarters/ 2 Killed
Oct. 9: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police station in Sadr City district/ 10 killed
Oct. 12: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Baghdad hotel/ 8 killed
Oct. 26: Baghdad/ Rocket attack on al- Rashid hotel/ Paul Wolfowitz was staying at the hotel that morning/ 1 Killed
Besides the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, the 1,765 U.S. troops dead, the over 35,000 wounded, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed, and let’s not forget the millions lost in graft and Halliburton’s “profits,” what is to be accomplished between now and the beginning of next year that we haven’t already accomplished? We’ve already seen the results of the forming of the Iraqi government, what’s going to happen when they write a constitution?
We’ve heard this business about us leaving before, so is it for real this time or is there perhaps an escalation in the offing? History has shown with this war that the most insane ideas usually get the most serious hearing and go ahead from this administration. Former General Barry McCaffrey advocates increased troops levels to end this insurgency once and for all. I would go further and suggest a thorough carpet-bombing of the VC bases in Cambodia and a continued air campaign against the Ho Chi Min trail. In fact, to really show those damn terrorists, basing a large contingent of Marines in a valley and drawing the VC to them might just do the trick. Why don’t they ever listen to General McCaffrey?
Karl Rove, friend to the press.
Matt Cooper told Tim Russert on Sunday that he talked not only to Karl Rove about Valerie Plame but also talked to Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. There has been a lot of smoke and fog coming from sources “that did not wish to be named” about what Rove actually told Cooper and Novak that make Rove sound like he was Mr. Good Guy trying to point the press in the right direction on the Wilson trip to Niger. According to one anonymous source Rove didn’t actually say Plame was in the CIA or anything at all, he just confirmed it when asked. He learned about her from the reporters! Sure! So, then who actually told the reporters if not him? Libby? Gosh, I’m so confused. Rove’s lawyer insists Rove is not the target of Fitzgerald’s investigation, but he doesn’t say whether Boy Genius is being investigated for perjury. Let’s ask Scott McClellan!