Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bad ideas get worse in Iraq:

The NYT reports today:

"A Pentagon assessment of security conditions in Iraq concluded Monday that attacks against American and Iraqi targets had surged this summer and autumn to their highest level . . .The report, which covers the period from early August to early November, found an average of almost 960 attacks against Americans and Iraqis every week, the highest level recorded since the Pentagon began issuing the quarterly reports in 2005"

Coincidently, this just happens to be roughly the same time period during which "Operation Together Forward" has been in effect. Remember, Operation Together Forward was the grand strategy deveoped by the pentagon that began in June, which was to flood Baghdad with US and Iraqi troops in order to stem the spiraling sectarian violence. This new quarterly report would appear to prove that the "Battle of Baghdad" isn't going so great.

It should be crystal clear at this stage that the more troops we put in the worse things get. According to the WaPo this is the conclusion the Joint Chiefs of Staff have come to, as well. Typically, regardless of the facts staring them straight in the face, the White House is pushing for the "surge" idea as the next new thing.

Robin Wright and Peter Baker write that "the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military."

The NYT quotes Gen. James T. Conway, now in charge in Iraq, saying that the military would support a surge in the number of troops if "there is a solid military reason for doing so." That's the rub, isn't it? "He said sending more troops just to be 'thickening the mix' in Baghdad would be a mistake." How about that? Is it possible for this administration to make a mistake?

We keep hearing a lot about how the president will listen to the commanders in the field when it comes to sending more troops if they need them, but if the commanders in the feild happen to think that escalating the war would be a really bad idea, then they're ignored.

The NYT reported on the 16th that the White House has already asked the OMB for an a cost estimate of a surge in troop levels up to "20,000 or more."

"American military officials said Friday night that the Pentagon was planning to send the Second Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to Kuwait in January. The brigade, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., would serve as a reserve that commanders in Iraq could draw on. American military commanders have been operating without such a reserve since the Marine unit that had been on call was dispatched to Anbar Province in western Iraq. The Army brigade could become an element of a larger troop deployment to Iraq if the White House decided to increase troops there."

I think its pretty safe to assume they will send more troops in and a large number of troops already there will be staying for a lot longer than they thought they were. But rest assured this time W. & Co. really know what they're doing.

Wait they don't. A senior officiakl says that "There has not been a full articulation of what we would want the surge to accomplish," but 'what the hell' we'll figure it out as we go along. Is this any way to run a popcorn stand? I've siad it before and I'll say it again, this bunch in the Whiter House hasn't got a clue and their pigheadedness is going to get us into a larger disater than they one we already are in.


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