An incredibly disturbing story from ABC News (this link is now suspiciously dead – I’ve posted the story below). Basically, General Petraeus has already decided that the surge in Iraq will be such a resounding success come September that we’re going to keep the surge troops there another four months beyond when we were told they were needed. Did you get that? The mission is such a success that it’s going to take twice as long. Now that’s a man who knows how to spin.
But it’s even better than that. We been told forever that it would just impossible to tell if the surge is working until September or even later because, you know, the surge troops wouldn’t even all be in Iraq until July. Now, per ABC, Petraeus is telling people he already knows what he’s going to report in September – that the surge has been a huge success. Which is a bit odd, since the last of the surge troops only just arrived in Iraq a day or two ago (yeah, they lied about July). Yet now we suddenly already know how successful we’ll by September even though we were told that September would likely be too early to tell. It’s all one big joke for Petraeus and Bush. Not to mention, I love that Petraeus and Bush basically misled the entire Congress last week. Congress just gave him $100 billion for Iraq based on the latest, best briefings on what was going on. Unless Petraeus told Congress last week that he already had determined that the surge would be a success in September, he misled them. He held back information that they needed to know in order to properly fund this war.
Oh but it gets better. Petraeus is already making plan to keep a sizable number of troops in Iraq for another five to ten years. And he says he wants us to “draw down” the number of troops to 130,000 by the end of 2008. Draw down? You mean, get us back to the number of troops we had in Iraq before this summer’s surge. Some draw down.
So basically, Petraeus and Bush are not planning on doing squat with Iraq until after the presidential election. Isn’t that convenient for the Republican presidential and congressional candidates. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence – it’s not like Petraeus would be actively scheming on how to throw a US election.
Here’s ABC’s story:
ABC News Learns of Plans to Keep Troops in Iraq Beyond 2009
June 1, 2007 —
U.S. officials tell ABC News that the troop levels in Iraq cannot be maintained at the present level, either politically or practically, with the military stretched so thin.
But that does not imply an immediate drawdown. Officials tell ABC’s Martha Raddatz the senior commanders in Iraq — Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno and Gen. David Petraeus — want the surge to continue until at least December, and expect to report enough progress by September to justify the extension.
The drawdown would begin in February 2008, although each of the two generals supports a slightly different plan.
Plan one, which officials say is being pushed by Odierno, calls for a reduction in troops from roughly 150,000 today to 100,000 by December of 2008.
Petraeus champions a slightly different approach that would be to cut the troops down to roughly 130,000 by the end of 2008, with further reductions the following year.
Presence in Iraq Beyond 2009
There is also discussion of how long troops will remain in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates envisions “some presence” on the part of the United States that “provides reassurance to our friends and to governments in the region, including those that might be our adversaries, that we’re going to be there for a long time,” Gates said.
A senior official said one long-term plan would have 30-50,000 U.S. forces in Iraq for 5-10 years beyond 2009.
During that period, the bulk of the troops would be deployed to bases at strategic points throughout Iraq to respond to crisis in those areas. Camp Victory would continue to operate as the U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad.
Iraq’s president tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” this Sunday that Iraqi forces can take over, but no time soon.
When asked when the Iraqi army will be ready to defend its country, Jalal Talabani said, “I think the end of the next year.”
But officials have serious doubts about that statement. And as far as the plans for troops, they could all change over the coming months.