Friday, April 20, 2007


According to the latest from McClatchy the US training of Iraqi forces is no longer a primary focus. Keep in mind that our current strategy, as far as it goes, is to send in an additional 20, 000 (or 40,ooo depending upon who is counting, the day of the week and the political climate) US troops to secure Baghdad while the Iraqi forces are brought up to speed and can take over. That was the surge, that was the plan to follow rather than the ISG recommendation that we negotiat with Iran and Syria while we start to pull out. That is what George Bush has been calling for.

There has been plenty of criticism of this plan, and there has already been plenty of reason to call it a failure already. US casualty rates are higher than they have been at any time during the war except for the first weeks of fighting. Indeed, the usual drop in casualty rates during February and March never materialized this year. Then this month the casualties have been unusually high throughout the month. Civilian casualties were down for awhile when the surge started, but are back up as high or higher than ever. Furthermore, that decrease occurred in Baghdad, but the attacks continued, or became worse, outside the city. In short, it has already become clear that the increase in forces that Bush put together has not been enough to bring the insurgency to heel so that Iraqi forces could take over.

Now we learn that there really aren't any substantial Iraqi forces to take over, nor are they being formed at any appreciable rate. With no reasonable expectation of Iraqi forces taking over in the immediate future, the mission is clearly a failure. We need to recognize that and move on.

I've said before that the mission in Iraq has long since taken on the character of the British at Gallipoli, a ill-conceived operation that has been executed so poorly as to be worse than useless. The interests of the United States, and I believe Iraq as well, would be far better served by withdrawing our forces from Iraq and deploying our resources elsewhere. No military force in history has ever achieved ultimate victory without experiencing setbacks and reverses along the way. Withdrawing from Iraq is no more surrendering to the terrorists than withdrawing from Gallipoli was surrendering to Turkey (Great Britain did go on to defeat the Turks you know. Look it up.)

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