Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mission Accomplished

Looks like we start drawing down troop levels next year.

The struggle against the Iraq insurgency passed a crucial tipping point Wednesday with the current prime minister calling for major U.S. troop withdrawals and the U.S. ground commander there acknowledging they will probably come next year.

The commander, however, made clear he did not expect the insurgency to have dropped by then significantly below its current level.

So we leave them in a precipitously declining state of civil war, policed by squadrons of incompetent and corrupt troops. It's a win-win situation!

In Washington, well-placed military sources told UPI that "as many as," "20,000 or 30,000" U.S. troops might be withdrawn from Iraq next year. That would bring the current force levels of around 140,000 -- which many U.S. military officers privately, and most counter-insurgency experts publicly, agree are already far too low to deal with the insurgency -- down to only 120,000 or 110,000 troops.

Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, did not give any figures but he said the troop withdrawals already being contemplated for as early as next year were "fairly substantial."

Casey made his comments the day after a particularly grim series of incidents in Iraq. Four U.S. soldiers from the Georgia National Guard were killed in Baghdad by a single roadside bomb Tuesday, and 16 Iraqi government workers were killed when their buses were machine-gunned by insurgents.

In other words, we didn't send enough troops in the first place -- despite repeated warnings from people who actually knew better -- so now the solution is to walk away. Very well. Americans had best start getting serious about conserving, or else get used to $4/gallon for gas.

Setting aside partisanship for the moment, this encapsulates the sheer heedlessness of the masterminds' approach to strategery. They knocked over the popsicle stand with lightning-quick efficiency, but it didn't occur to them that the longer they took to rebuild it, the more pissed-off people were going to get.

People get funny when you cordon them off with razor wire in 110ยบ heat, and about 8 hours of electricity per day. Naturally, we would handle such conditions with the patience and good cheer Americans are world-renowned for.

Al-Jaafari said his government would welcome the move provided it had "two aspects."

The first, he said, would be that the United States would step up the scale and intensity of its training of massive new Iraqi security forces. Rumsfeld is expected to give the go-ahead for that with no hesitation.

The second, al-Jaafari said, was that the U.S. plans its withdrawals in coordination with the Iraqi government and its new security forces. U.S. senior officials have already assured Baghdad that will be the case, U.S. military sources have told UPI.

However, some U.S. sources cautioned that there could be major risks in giving the Iraqi government and security forces detailed advance information about future U.S. troop withdrawals.

Both the Iraqi government bureaucracy and the new security forces have been heavily infiltrated, they said, by insurgency agents. The insurgents continue to enjoy excellent intelligence that enables them to attack Iraqi security forces and even massacre them at large gatherings. They remain able to kill officials in the new state structure at will around the country.

The U.S. forces' ability to protect Iraqi officials apart from the most senior remains "minimal," one U.S. military source said.

Therefore, sharing information about the details, times and routes of U.S. withdrawals with Iraqi authorities and forces could greatly increase the risks of disruptive insurgent attacks upon them.

So we know that the bureaucracy and the security forces have been heavily infiltrated by insurgents, but we're walking away all the same. The mantra seems to be "they're better off than they were under Saddam", but that's just dumb. Saddam was one guy; he didn't do all these awful things by himself. Many, if not most, of the insurgents were the people that carried out Saddam's orders. We got the guy that gave the orders to put people through shredders, but did we get the people that actually did the shredding? And if not, aren't we just slapping a bandaid on a gaping wound that we broke open?


oldwhitelady said...

Looks like we start drawing down troop levels next year.

We're going to need them if we decide to attack Iran... or Syria, see.

Mitch said...

What was that thing we weren't supposed to set? The thing that makes the terrorists wait you out? Rhymes with dimecable? Laughable ...

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