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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Operation Run Out the Clock

Petraeus and BushBush's big surge has been called 'Operation Run Out the Clock.' The president, reportedly obsessed with the idea that history must remember him fondly, is already stuck with being the idiot who started the Iraq war. He'll be damned if he's going to be the guy who lost that war -- never mind that it was lost on day one. A war based on so many mistakes, misconceptions, ignorance, and outright lies can't possibly turn out well.

Bush's idea is to keep the fire burning until the next fire department shows up. They'll be stuck with the label 'the guys who let it burn down,' not Fire Chief Bush.

Of course, that'll work out about as well as every other plan he's ever had. Even if he manages to keep the war going until the next president is sworn in, no one's going to buy it. He'll have handed right wing pundits, columnists, and talk radio jocks a new talking point, but no one takes any of those people seriously anymore. We're pretty much done listening to fools.

Bush talks about the 'commanders in the field' and how politicians shouldn't interfere in what these commanders think is best; as if a war waged by a government is no business of that government. There are roman generals out there in Iraq, governments on horseback, with all the authority and autonomy of the emperor. And, if you don't like it, you get to shut the hell up about it. War is not the business of lawmakers or plebians.

Gen. David Petraeus is one of those (supposedly) ungoverned commanders and he's come up with a cunning plan for glorious victory in Iraq -- keep the fire burning until another fire department shows up.

Washington Post:

The senior U.S. commander in Iraq is preparing a plan for military operations that sets summer 2009 as the goal for achieving a sustainable level of security throughout the country, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

The draft, developed by Gen. David Petraeus' staff, lays out a series of security-related goals over two years, envisioning U.S. troops in the war zone through 2009.

The plan, first reported by The New York Times, comes as Democrats in the U.S. Congress press for a strategy change that leads to withdrawal.

There's a shock, huh?

The new timeline of summer 2009 has less to do with what Iraq might look like by then and more to do with what we'll look like then. We'll be pretty much entirely spent. It's summer 2009 because any longer would be impossible, not because things will look better by then. Petraeus admits as much.

Asked by NPR's Michele Norris whether he agreed with Colin Powell's assessment that "by the middle of next year, it will be near impossible to maintain the current troop levels in Iraq because of the strain of multiple deployments, not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan," Petreaus agreed.

I do, actually. I mean, this has always been the case. There has always been a sense that the surge would be something that -- it would be more than just temporary, if you will. It would be a sustained increase in forces but that obviously at some point, the surge has to end... We're keenly aware of the strain that has been placed on the services, and it is one of many operational considerations that will eventually guide recommendations that I make through the chain of command to the president.

Odd how Petreaus's strategy is basically a last ditch Hail Mary, isn't it? And odd how it's more likely to succeed in Bush's strategy for his legacy than it is to achieve any military success. For all Bush's demands that we give up governing the military and let the geniuses in the field do whatever the hell they want, what they want is always parallel to what he wants.

Well, not always. Those generals who've disagreed with the president aren't generals anymore. These are Gens. Shinseki, Casey, Abizaid, etc. It's ironic that Shinseki's crime was suggesting we'd need more troops at the outset of war -- a realization Bush came to years later with his 'surge.' Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, told Salon in January that Iraq was a "fool's errand" and that "it is perfectly logical for [the Bush administration], who will not admit to any failure, to hoist blame on the military that executed to the best of its ability."

So Bush's demands that we listen to the military are, of course, BS. What he really means is, "Listen to the military when they agree with me." When they don't, they don't work in the military anymore. Those who offer wise counsel are blamed for the inevitable failures and fired, while yes men run the war.

Petraeus's new timeline -- you can't really call it a plan -- basically calls for us to choose sides in Iraq's civil war and hope we can help them win before the clock runs out. We side with the sunnis against 'al Qaeda' and, since al Qaeda is Bush shorthand for 'anyone who shoots at us,' that means choosing the minority against the majority. Somehow, we've got this all so screwed up that the people that Rumsfeld called 'deadenders' fighting for Saddam are now the good guys. The bad guys are the Mahdi Army -- a shia group that, in reality, the sunni al Qaeda consider heretics.

Yeah, it gives me a headache too. Don't expect it to make a damned bit of sense. This 'plan' is designed more to line up with Bush propaganda than with reality. The only purpose is to extend the war until Bush punches out.

Let someone else clean up his mess. If he screws it up even worse on the way out, then all the better. If the failure is spectacular and that failure happens on someone else's watch, then he hopes to look better in comparison.


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