Most U.S. troops can be withdrawn safely from Iraq in roughly one year and the Bush administration should begin planning the pullout immediately, according to a study released Wednesday.That's my emphasis, of course. Of course.
With the exception mostly of two brigades of about 8,000 troops who would remain in the touchy Kurdish region in the north for a year, trying to guard against conflict with Turkey, the U.S. troops would be moved to Kuwait initially, sags the study by the Center for American Progress, a self-described "progressive think tank" headed by John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff to former President Clinton.
A brigade and an air wing of some 70 to 80 planes would remain in the Persian Gulf country indefinitely.Indefinitely is a very long time.
Meanwhile, the withdrawal would give the United States leeway to add 20,000 troops to the 25,000 in Afghanistan trying to counter Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.Hey! I've got an idea! How about, before we kill anyone else, we take some of that $50 billion Bush wants for more war and spend it on a new, independent, transparent investigation of the crimes of 9/11?
Yes, another $50 BILLION. No, I'm not kidding!
President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.And I wanted to spend that money finding out what really happened on 9/11. Silly me. You see? I've spent a few minutes looking at USA Today and now they've got me doing it! Like Bush is gonna take suggestions from a cold blogger!
The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.
The request is being prepared now in the belief that Congress will be unlikely to balk so soon after hearing the two officials argue that there are promising developments in Iraq but that they need more time to solidify the progress they have made, a congressional aide said.
Some consideration is being given to trimming the new request by a few billion dollars, the White House official said. But, he added, "this is pretty close to a done deal." Almost all the spending is relatively noncontroversial, he added, with the vast majority of it necessary just to keep the U.S. military operating in Iraq. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said that the supplemental requests are likely to be "rolled together" and considered as one package.
But meanwhile the false optimism rolls on, in a grotesque parody of what used to be considered the national discourse:
How fast the troops depart from Iraq and most of them go home depends largely on how much essential equipment goes along with the withdrawal, according to the study.So it's come to this: How much essential equipment do you think the troops should take home with them?
The troops could be out of Iraq in no more than three months if the equipment is left behind, a course not proposed in the study.
Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon official who specialized in manpower and logistics there from 1981 to 1985, said in an interview: "It is essential that the military begin planning for a phased withdrawal from Iraq now so it can be safely completed within 10 to 12 months."Ha!! On what planet does a former Pentagon official get to lecture the Decider Guy on what's essential? Bush won't even take advice from current Pentagon officials!
If the plan is adopted and U.S. combat units deployed in Iraq were not replaced as they went home the Bush administration could conclude the withdrawal by the end of next July "and with much more care than they did the invasion and occupation," the report said.The administration could conclude the withdrawal by the end of next July ... but they won't!
Why would they cut their excellent adventure short when it's going so well already?
But the longer the media whores can keep you thinking that a withdrawal may be in the works, the happier the Decider Guy will be. It might annoy a cold blogger or two, it might get another few thousand Americans killed, and it might cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands more Iraqis, but who matters most, anyway? All these people, or the Decider Guy?
Clearly USA Today knows the answer.