Thursday, April 10, 2008

Iraq Skin Game

Now that President Petraeus and Vice-President Crocker have given us our marching orders, someone named George W. Bush will emerge today at the White House to rubber-stamp them, suspending troop withdrawals after this summer but sweetening the bitter medicine by cutting combat tours back to 12 months.

These actions will bring troop deployment back to where it was at the start of last year, a thousand American deaths and several hundred billions of dollars ago.

Even the good news is illusory. The tour cutbacks will affect only troops sent to Iraq in August or later. As the president of Veterans for America points out, nearly half of the Army's units are now deployed for 15 months and will stay there, making the "hollow announcement...nothing more than political posturing at the expense of our troops."

The net effect of this week's doings, as the New York Times points out quoting "senior administration and military officials" is "a bleak assessment that Iraqi forces remain unprepared to take over the mission of securing their own nation."

John McCain assures Americans the Surge has been a success, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems closer to the mark in saying that “based on everything we have heard, we can reach only one conclusion: With 160,000 courageous American troops serving in Iraq, President Bush has an exit strategy for just one man--himself--on Jan. 20, 2009.”

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