Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bush Administration Preparing To Tout Iraqi Troop Preparedness. Too Bad It's Not True.

President Bush plans to give a major speech next week in which he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.

The scheduled Nov. 30 speech in Annapolis, Md., comes on the heels of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice applauding the rapid training of Iraqi soldiers, and claiming that the current number of U.S. troops in Iraq probably would not be needed much longer.

Do you smell a spin campaign?

Let's start with the basics. There is no statistical evidence to back up the claims. As recently as late September, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who oversees U.S. forces in Iraq, said very few Iraqi troops had "Level 1" readinees. Senators were not happy to hear that just one of Iraq's 86 army battalions is ready to fight on its own.

When asked when U.S. troops might be able to withdraw, Casey said, "It's not going to be like throwing a switch where all of a sudden, one day, the Iraqis are in charge."

But is it possible that Iraqi troops could have improved by leaps and bounds over the past two months? Don't buy that spin. Although some Iraqi units have sharply improved their capabilities, Gary J. Schmitt, a director at the conservative-friendly American Enterprise Institute, told the Los Angeles Times that "to get a force that is really effective requires a lot more experience than this army is likely to have for years."

So what are we left with? The administration misled us into this war by favoring a political strategy over questionable "intelligence," and now it wants to mislead us out of Iraq by ... favoring a political strategy over questionable "intelligence."


The question now is which force is more powerful -- the desire among Americans to win the war, or the desire among Americans to bring home the troops.

With the U.S. death toll recently crossing 2,000, and with new questions about what the administration knew about the credibility of pre-war "intelligence, an increasing percentage of Americans believe that Bush misled the nation into war.

This administration will never admit that it cares about polls. But the reality is that the 2006 mid-term elections are rapidly approaching, and the longer that Bush's overall popularity -- and more specifically, the popularity of his Iraq policy -- remains low, the harder it will be for Republicans to maintain control of the House and the Senate.

The Bush Administration and the conservative noise machine can keep false claiming that the Democrats believe in a "cut and run" Iraq policy. They can keep saying that the Democrats are treasonous. The polls suggest the American people know better.

The truth is that mainstream Democrats -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, recent presidential nominee John Kerry and Sen. Joseph Biden, the senior party representative on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- have called for a gradual withdrawal, predicated on increased international responsibility and increased training of Iraqi security.

The Bush plan doesn't want additional international help. But everyone agrees that Iraqi troops have to be self-sufficient.


It may be up to the Democrats -- and consciencious Republicans like Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- to straddle the difficult political line between supporting a popular strategy to start bringing troops home next year and demanding evidence of Iraqi self-sufficiency before troop withdrawals begin.

What happens if our troops start withdrawing before the Democrat-led coalition believes the Iraqis are self-sufficient?

The irony is that the same conservative pundits who have long claimed Democrats favor "cut and run" would suddenly be advocating such a policy, and spinning that the Democrats are obstacles to a successful Bush war.


Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

The administration misled us into this war by favoring a political strategy over questionable "intelligence," and now it wants to mislead us out of Iraq by ... favoring a political strategy over questionable "intelligence."


I don't know how anyone could draw a different conclusion. If the Democrats controlled even one house of Congress, the Bush Administration B.S. would be checked.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope I'm wrong.
The MSM will largely stenograph Bush's Nov. 30 speech without asking any questions about Casey's recent statements or anything else that might oppose the info.
Never mind that more than half of the country does not trust Bush on his Iraq policies.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous FormerRepublican said...

The Bush rule applies: Everything Bush says is a lie. Repeat.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous hippiechick said...

Oh, no, please let's TAKE HIS WORD for it ...
Mission Accomplished. Iraq is ready. George said it.
So, bring our troops home. NOW.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous pinto said...

Repub standard: Look at the polls, co-opt a plan, call it your own 'n Spin

5:58 PM  
Anonymous kentuck said...

They will do their propaganda slowly over the next six months...
That way, they can tweak it and make corrections as they go. But that is their plan. Repeat after me. They are standing up and we are standing down...

7:11 PM  
Blogger Poldark Maximus said...

It's Mesopotamia, not Iraq. Blame T.E. Lawrence and the the Victorian Brits, not GWB. Time to let them sort it out for themselves. Curiously, we have kept troops in Germany for 60 years. SIXTY YEARS. Actively engaged in policing the cold war for 45 years! Get used to it. GET OVER IT. If you don't think its worth it, just say so.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Poldark = Indecipherable.

Why can't a conservative come onto this site and provide a rational defense for any of JABBS' critiques. It's either personal attacks or whatever you want to call Poldark's commentary.

The lack of a reasoned debate only leads me to believe that JABBS' opinion is dead-on accurate.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Ken in the 'red' part of NY said...

a couple of (geat thinkers) thoughts - as opposed to the jingoist rhetoric of all the Poldark's lurking out there:

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

and finally

"Never argue with a fool. Others may not be able to tell the difference." Anon

a friend of the truth, a verteran of Vietnam, a lover of America.

Ken in NY

10:14 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Support of El Shrubbo policy is not based on anything factual, because there is no factual basis for support f any of his policies.
Since it is, therefore, a religion, I expect the faithful to lap it up, as they always do.

12:45 AM  
Blogger W.D. Russell said...

If Halliburton is getting paid to train the troops, you know it will take 50 years.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are troops and Iraqui people dying every day? Why can't the U.S. get out of this quagmire?
To save face for Bush and a bunch of weak politicians and MSM dogs who allowed themselves to be manipulated by Bush. No one has to admit a huge mistake was made.
How convenient.
Either we stay or we go. Most of the experts, which does NOT include Bush and his sycophants, admit neither outcome would be favorable. All the more reason to get out of Iraq as soon as possible.
This is all the more

9:34 AM  

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