Monday, December 18, 2006

Open vs.closed ended troop surge...

Senators Reid and Clinton have both made statements about what the President is apparently contemplating going forward in Iraq.

I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Reid far more than that expressed by Clinton. The spin put on both statements would lead one to suppose that people who think like me would support Clinton over Reid. However a careful examination of what the two Senators are actually saying would show that the one who really wants a timeline for the troops to come home is Reid.

Here is the spin on the Clinton statement: "New York Democrat opposes troop surge in Iraq"

The spin on the Reid statement conversely is: "US troop surge OK for a few months: Reid"

But reading the two opinions in detail is instructive. Clinton opposes the troop surge UNLESS it is part of a comprehensive strategy to stabilize Iraq. Ergo the headline spin, she opposes the troop surge. Reid on the other hand supports the surge IF it is being used to bring the troops home in a given time frame. Clintons sentiment actually would lead to an open ended troop surge as part of a comprehensive plan for stability, but Reid ok's the surge only as a mechanism for ending the occupation.

I'm certain there are many readers wondering what in the world putting more troops in country has to do with ending the occupation. I'm hardly a military expert, but it seems plain to me that the very nature of the job would shift dramatically if the force were geared to ending the occupation rather than continuing it. I can imagine the boots on the ground patrolling right now aren't specialized in intercontinental airlift for example... or whatever other type duty an evacuation of that size would need. I can imagine we would need more people on a short term basis to bring home the troops.

On the other hand the Clinton statement is on open ended invitation for more, more of the same. Of COURSE the President is going to claim that he has a plan to stabalize Iraq. He's been saying that for the last three years! I don't think it's changed much over the course of time either... when they stand up, we will stand down. Sending in more troops for the forseeable future may allow us to prop up our effort, but it isn't a plan, any more so than stand up and stand down.

I don't give a fig what the spin is on these two Senators pronouncements, it is clear to me that Reid wants the troops home by a given date, and Clinton is still talking about American arms bringing stability to Iraq. I know who I'm with!

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