Saturday, April 28, 2007
Repost: Administration: We blew it bigtime, but trust us now
Administration: We blew it bigtime, but trust us now...
After perusing and consideration of the white house plan for victory in Iraq, for whatever little good it does, I call for congress to implement the Rep. John Murtha plan for withdrawal of American forces from the Iraqi theater. I would also appreciate the administration moving toward the Murtha proposal, but it is clear they will not budge.
Read the white house document and consider what has transpired in the Iraq war to this point. There are two short term goals for victory that have to do with the security situation in Iraq: "Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists," and "standing up security forces". The Iraq war started in March of 2003. After three years we have seen a stark reversal regarding the first short term goal of making progress in fighting terrorism, and only sputtering progress on training Iraq forces. In fact the decision of this administration to disband the standing army after the invasion cost us dearly in regards to this goal. If after 2 1/2 years of this sort of progress on the security goals in the short term has brought us to this pass, how can we expect this administration or the Iraqi government to reach longer term security goals without a commitment of American forces for many many years to come? Is this really what the administration, congress or the citizens of America signed up for when considering whether or not we should invade Iraq?
I could post the various statements from back in the day here, but we know them all too well. Cheney talking about being greeted as liberators, Rumsfeld speculating on a six month engagement, all the halcyon predictions of quick and certain victory with no forebodings of the quagmire we see today. All cost free with open spigots on Iraqi oil wells. And now according to the very document put forth by the white house we can expect that the quagmire will continue for the foreseeable future. So we have come to see that the administration was absolutely wrong with the justifications used to get us into Iraq, horribly blundered the post war planning, and actually invited the Iraqis to strike us when George Bush implored those who would attack us to "bring it on". Nice bluster there Mr. president, but I'll bet you'd love to have those words and about ten other such silly statements and actions back in hindsight. But now that they have written up a "declassified" version of how they will reach Iraqi Utopia, we should realize they are right about this call and forget about all that other unpleasantness? As the president says: "Fool me once and shame on you. Fool me twice and... ... Won't get fooled again".
Lets face facts here, (something president Bush is loathe to do). All the rosy fluffery in the victory plan regarding the inspiring buildup of the Iraqi military is simply not supported by the facts. According the congressional testimony of General John Abizaid:
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: General Abizaid, there was a report sent over, I think last June, that three of the hundred Iraqi battalions were fully trained and equipped, capable of operating independently. What is that number now?At this rate we'll be down to zero independent Iraqi battalions sometime in January! *snark* (One has to keep ones humor in such dark times) But yet again... I digress. Read this article in the Washington Post from June 10, 2005, for a real feeling about how the progression of training the Iraqi military is coming along.
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: The number now is, if you're talking about level-one trained --
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Yeah.
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: It's one.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: At one battalion?
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: Right.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: The previous report was you had three battalions. Now we're down to one battalion.
"I know the party line. You know, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, five-star generals, four-star generals, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld: The Iraqis will be ready in whatever time period," said 1st Lt. Kenrick Cato, 34, of Long Island, N.Y., the executive officer of McGovern's company, who sold his share in a database firm to join the military full time after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "But from the ground, I can say with certainty they won't be ready before I leave. And I know I'll be back in Iraq, probably in three or four years. And I don't think they'll be ready then."Then consider that Iran has reached an agreement with Iraq to be involved with training Iraqi military units and you may understand how deeply involved we are in a simply impossible undertaking. Who believes the U.S. is interested in training and arming the Southern Iraq arm of the Tehran Republican Guard?
Thus I am convinced that the training of the Iraqi military has not quite proven to be the wonderment of human endeavor presented by the administration.
One other point on the victory plan regarding security in Iraq. Let us consider this mission statement:
We are helping the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government take territory out of enemy control (clear); keep and consolidate the influence of the Iraqi government afterwards (hold); and establish new local institutions that advance civil society and the rule of law in areas formerly under enemy influence and control (build).This is the so called clear, hold, and build strategy for security improvement. I'll believe we have a chance of making this work just as soon as the road from the Baghdad airport to the city proper is pacified. If we can not control this one stretch of road that is so vitally important to our mission there, it doesn't make much sense to go about thumping our chests about Fallujah and Tal Afar and so on.
So those of us non-koolaid drinkers are left to wonder what should be done with this mess. Well Representative Murtha offers another solution. As soon as we safely can, withdraw from Iraq, but leave two forces in the region to respond to threats. A quick reaction force for threats and emergencies that require immediate attention, and an "over the horizon" contingent of Marines that could be used for a bit longer term yet still temporary resolution to a given situation. This strategy is not America running despite the absurd resolution brought to the house floor by the Republicans when Murtha made his proposal. But it is an alternative to the continued quagmire that this administration has landed us in. You can check out Rep. Murtha's statement on the war for further detail about his proposal.
I'm still struggling with my stance on leaving air bases in Iraq after a withdrawal to support the Iraqi government in hopes of stopping a civil war. So since I'm still torn I won't even attempt to integrate the two proposals until further notice. Who knows... maybe one night I'll wake up with an epiphany and bash out a solution here. Where it will sit in a solitary wait and eventually be lost to the sands of time.
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