President Bush said this earlier today in his super top-secret visit to Iraq (ahhh... progress):
"General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it is possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces," he said.
What he really means is that he's too cowardly to reassess the situation strategically and will keep the escalation going until it can't physically be sustained without more unprecedented adjustments. So come August '08 we're looking at one of three situations. One, our Congress will gather up the willpower and begin to confront the President. More likely, two, nothing will happen in Congress. The escalation will continue as it has for months now and there will be little to show for it. As are troop levels begin to fall by the weight of their own gravity, the interests in Iraq will go back to their slightly dormant cycles. Finally three, we could reassess the situation noting the fact that we've rid Iraq of a dictator, established that they have no WMD and planted seeds of democracy in the country (perverted as they might be). Then strategically reset our occupation to one of counterterrorism and regional security leaving the Iraqi power centers room to adjust to their new government without the US military being a crutch. Accompany that with a force to protect the Kurds in the north, keep Turkey at bay, control Kurdish irredentist terrorism emanating from Kurdistan, and check Iranian influence in the northern portion of Iraq. One of these paths is logical (#3) so it won't see the light of day. The rest are just plain bad. However one will allow the White House to save face until we elect a new president. That is the road Bush wants. He claims to be loyal, he claims to support the troops. He is doing neither here, both his party and his military will suffer as a result of his intransigence.
He visited al Anbar to highlight the superficial success happening there against al Qaeda in Iraq. The White House is so desperate to stretch this war out, they'll even hijack the success of others as there own:
That assertion is part of Bush's push to sell Anbar as a success story and to hold it up to his congressional critics as a reason why the troop buildup should not be cut short.
In truth, the progress in Anbar was initiated by the Iraqis themselves, a point Gates himself made, saying the Sunni tribes decided to fight and retake control from al-Qaida many months before Bush decided to send an extra 4,000 Marines to Anbar as part of his troop buildup.
In any regard, this "success" is the fruit of a plan that works against the initial strategic vision of the escalation and one that borders on hypocrisy.
As last months NIE stated:
Such initiatives, if not fully exploited by the Iraqi government, could over time also shift greater power to the regions, undermine efforts to impose central authority, and reinvigorate armed opposition to the Baghdad government
Posted by Geoff
Labels: Anbar, benchmarks, Bush, CAP, counter terrorism, Iraq, surge