April 10, 2007

Bush's New "New Way"

Talk about slow bleed. Watching Bush wallow in Iraq is painful; I can only imagine how much more painful it is for those with loved ones directly involved, or preparing to ship out.

I'm prompted by the recent unofficial announcement that 15,000 troops might be held over for an extra 120 days. If they stay, some will die, some will be maimed, some will be traumatized, some will miss milestone family events. And for what?

The unapproved statement (authorized spin or unauthorized leak?) says:

[General] Petraeus believes the troop increase President Bush announced in January has produced some momentum in fighting violence in Iraq, Petraeus wants to maintain troops at that level past the summer.

Bait-and-switch aside, Why? What's the plan? Well, actually, the plan keeps changing. Below are three morphed strategies.

Bush's generals tell us there isn't a military solution to the mission (what ever that has morphed into). So, I Googled Bush Plan Iraq.

At the top of the list is a May 2004 speech: "President Outlines Steps to Help Iraq Achieve Democracy and Freedom". In that plan, Bush outlines "five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom":

We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support, and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people.

Not to mention annihilating Fallujah in a war crime differing from Saddam Hussein's Dujail massacre only in that more people were killed when Bush punished Fallujah. Hussein was hung for Dujail.

Next on the Google list is a November 2005 speech: "President Outlines Strategy for Victory in Iraq." The strategy is outlined having three elements.

On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will.

On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.

And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq. In doing all this we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states in helping Iraqis build their future.

A critique: First, freedom doesn't guarantee peace. Second, the security forces failed to hold territory, and alienated the the Iraqi public creating more insurgents according to the CIA. Finally, the US tried to impose corporate globalization onto the Iraqi economy, resulting in exploitation and an economic collapse. The UN and others have mostly stood on the sidelines due to growing insecurity and the US attitude of "Its my way or the highway.

The next on Google's list is a Washington Post article voicing scepticism about Bush's next new strategy dubbed "The New Way Forward In Iraq." Like his falsely advertised Prescription Drug Program, Bush low balled the number of troops that would be needed for a surge.

What does the new "New Way" strategy include?

Establishing More Than 45 "Joint Security Stations" Throughout Baghdad.

Stepping Up Training The Iraqi Army And Police

Enhancing Our Civilian And Diplomatic Efforts

And of course,

Ordering Reinforcements Of More Than 20,000 Combat Forces To Iraq

Emphasis on the "more than."

The originally advertised 21,500 doesn't count 2,000 military police needed to manage about 20,000 additional detainees. It doesn't count troops that have quietly been added to bring the surge number closer to 30,000. Now we read that 15,000 troops will be held over for an additional 120 days, or that Bush has authorized extending combat tours to 15-months (three more months of Iraqi roulette).

The blogosphere was reporting, about a month ago, that there aren't enough combat forces to meet the 21,500 troop call-up; the only way to meet those numbers would be to extend the tours. The blogosphere can claim another correct prediction.

Here's a link to my optimistic prediction on how the Iraq war will play out. My other prediction is that the "New Way" out of Iraq will be through Iran:

Bush can't continue occupying Iraq, because it incites unacceptable violent resistance. Bush can't leave, because his failed mission would increase Iran's power in the region with great influence over a Shia-dominated Iraq. So, where does this leave him? It leaves him with the option of attacking Iran to weaken that nation before leaving Iraq. Unfortunately, the Democrats face the same reality.

I'm not alone in this later prediction.

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