Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pentagon Advisors Iraq Survey Group Four Point Plan for Victory

The Guardian Unlimited has an article that details President Bush's determination to commit more troops to Iraq. This controversial move will be done under the guise of the Iraq Study Group. The "bipartisan" findings of the group are currently being considered, but the final proposal is expected to take the form of a 4 point victory strategy being developed by Pentagon officials who are advising the group.

Odd how this news directly contradicts initial reports that the Iraq Study Group would rule out "victory" for America in it's final proposals. Frankly having the Pentagon get involved with the final outcome of the report, and call it a victory strategy means to me that the White House can not accept reality and must attempt to make things up as they proceed. It is the same exact problem that has led us to the current state of quagmire, and how anyone knowing the history of this mess could expect anything other than more of the same results is beyond comprehension.

Let us consider the 4 parts of this "victory plan":
Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.

The reinforcements will be used to secure Baghdad, scene of the worst sectarian and insurgent violence, and enable redeployments of US, coalition and Iraqi forces elsewhere in the country.
The solution as far as the White House is concerned to the hole they have dug us into in Iraq is to grab more shovels and dig faster. They can not admit making a fundamental error by not sending enough troops to begin with so they will not send the extra 100,000 that McCain and those who want to move in with more manpower want to send. But our forces in Iraq are manifestly undermanned so they have to send in additional troops... in effect playing the boy sticking various appendages into the dike as the leaks spring forth. McCain had it right on Meet the Press from the wrong perspective. You either put in the force you need to take care of the business you need conducted, or you pull out now because to keep the status quo means withdrawing later, with nothing to show for it but more dead Americans.
Point two of the plan stresses the importance of regional cooperation to the successful rehabilitation of Iraq. This could involve the convening of an international conference of neighbouring countries or more direct diplomatic, financial and economic involvement of US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Remember the good old days when this White House could snub allies who did not support our invasion of Iraq by not allowing their businesses to have contracts rebuilding Iraq? Things have degraded to the point that not only do we want our allies talking about this, we want our regional enemies in the talks as well. I think this is a very positive step, but I really am having difficulty accepting this administrations sincerity in extending the diplomatic hand in this case. Their record speaks for itself. If they prove me wrong on this, good for them and I'll readily admit it when I see it. The sad fact is that in calling for regional diplomacy, the administration is pointing to a glaring reason we find ourselves in the mess we are in. This administrations notion of diplomacy to this point has been defined as "you are with us or you are against us".
Point three focuses on reviving the national reconciliation process between Shia, Sunni and other ethnic and religious parties. According to the sources, creating a credible political framework will be portrayed as crucial in persuading Iraqis and neighbouring countries alike that Iraq can become a fully functional state.

To the certain dismay of US neo-cons, initial post-invasion ideas about imposing fully-fledged western democratic standards will be set aside. And the report is expected to warn that de facto tripartite partition within a loose federal system, as advocated by Democratic senator Joe Biden and others would lead not to peaceful power-sharing but a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
So the blather we've heard since 2004 about having Iraq be a flower of Democracy and freedom is no longer operable? Because it was tough from this side of the divide to constantly be talking about how wonderful a Islamofascist state of Iraq would be!

In all seriousness... Bush is willing to toss the major talking point after he had to flush the WMD talking points in order to make this work? So exactly why are we there? Why did we go in the first place? WMD weren't there, now Democracy is no longer the goal... so we evidently went to establish a client state for the new regional overlords in Iran. Just before we bomb Tehran? Brilliant!!!... now pass me an Odouls.

My final point on point three of the Pentagon Advisors Iraq Survey Group Four Point Plan for Victory is to wonder at the efficacy of trying yet another western type politically driven solution. What if the Iraqi's want something we haven't even conceived of yet? If the south wants to be annexed by Iran, how does that fit into yet another political solution from Washington? Here's a grand political scheme for you. Pull out and let them sort it out. Keep some rapid response nearby in case the terror camps pop up, and hope and pray that what results is better than what we got rid of.

Onto point 4:
Lastly, the sources said the study group recommendations will include a call for increased resources to be allocated by Congress to support additional troop deployments and fund the training and equipment of expanded Iraqi army and police forces. It will also stress the need to counter corruption, improve local government and curtail the power of religious courts.
There you have it! The newly elected Democratic Congress gets all bipartisan by supporting the Presidents my way or the highway, the last election doesn't mean anything, omnibus spending bills from now til eternity, plan for Iraq. Oh yes... Congress should also agree to deliver a bag of gold to the porches of all citizens, and do so without raising taxes or increasing the deficit.

Tony Snow talked the other day about various Democratic positions, all of which he termed to be non-starters. The last point of the Pentagon Advisors Iraq Survey Group Four Point Plan for Victory is itself the ultimate non starter. If Democrats knuckle under and let this President actually expand the war, they will have forgotten everything they stood for that won them this mid term election. I would be very disappointed if they allowed that to happen.

And just who is it that is all talking up training and arming the security forces of the Baghdad/Mehdi/Sadr/Your Shiite Group of Choice Name here, wing of the Iranian (thats right... Iranian) Peoples Liberation Army? It seems to me that we have plenty of proof that this may not be the best course of action. I can see it now. The campaign commercials for the Republicans challenging Democratic imcumbents... showing the incumbents picture morph into Al Sadr's. The low toned breathless moderator saying "Representative Smith voted to arm and train the same group who now vows to destroy Israel... and now Smith is asking for your vote?!"

Every dollar, every life, every creative thought we pour into this quagmire in a vain attempt at what we consider victory are resources, lives and thoughts that ought to be applied to other pursuits. Pursuits that have a prospect of success. If Baker and his group want to give us real proposals, that would be welcomed. If they want to become spokes people for continued administration failure... they just need to come up with a victory plan that calls for a few more troops. Unfortunately it seems they are determined to take the course that leads to deeper quagmire.

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