When They Stand Up, We’ll Stand Down?

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Bush’s Iraq strategy, in his own words:

Our strategy can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down, and when our commanders on the ground tell me that Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.

Turns out …uh …not so much:

Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.

Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.

So now what’s the plan (even the rhetorical plan) for victory in Iraq?

Well, just for the U.S. military to fight the insurgency without help from the Iraqi security forces.  Of course, the enemy now is pretty much the entire Iraqi populace, since we are now getting slammed from both Shia and Sunni.

In a word, it’s a clsuterfuck, and we’re in the middle.

Philip Carter explains in Slate why this new strategy will meet the same fate as the first five strategies.

[W]e’ve seen at least five major strategies implemented in Iraq, and all have failed, creating a legacy of bad blood that undermines our continuing efforts. Much of this failure owes to the naive belief that we can impose our will on the Iraqi people through our strategies, or win their support with a combination of security and reconstruction.

Gen. Petraeus and his brain trust have devised the best possible Plan F, given the resources available to the Pentagon and declining patience for the war at home. But the Achilles heel of this latest effort is the Maliki government. It is becoming increasingly clear to all in Baghdad that its interests—seeking power and treasure for its Shiite backers—diverge sharply from those of the U.S.-led coalition. Even if Gen. Petraeus’ plan succeeds on the streets of the city, it will fail in the gilded palaces of the Green Zone. Maliki and his supporters desire no rapprochement with the Sunnis and no meaningful power-sharing arrangement with the Sunnis and the Kurds. Indeed, Maliki can barely hold his own governing coalition together, as evidenced by the Sadr bloc’s resignation from the government this week and the fighting in Basra over oil and power.

Plan F will fail if (or when) the Maliki government fails, even if it improves security. At that point, we will have run out of options, having tried every conceivable strategy for Iraq. It will then be time for Plan G: Get out.

Speaking about Plan F, Kevin Drum puts it bluntly, “This is a ’slow bleed.’”

"Getting out" is the only option left us.  Even GOP Senators are realizing this, as they are sponsoring a bill requiring withdrawal of troops within 4 months of the bill’s passage.

By the way, whose plan was it to go into Iraq in the first place?  Bin Laden’s.  So says none other than Karl Rove:

"I wish the war were over," Rove said. "I wish the war never existed… History has given us a challenge."

In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war in Iraq.

"I think it was Osama bin Laden’s," Rove replied.

He’s right.  Here’s bin Laden himself:

All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

Bin Laden succeeded in provoking the United States into working against its own interests, in goading us into becoming mired in a war in the Mideast much like the one that ultimately helped destroy the Soviet Union. And Bush & Co fell for it.

Gee, I don’t know.  Maybe we should stop doing what our enemies want us to do.  That seems to me the basis of any good military policy.  Call me crazy….