Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Key Part

Petraeus testified yesterday and pretty much followed the anticipated script. I think it's important to look at the real bottom line.

Ask yourself two questions:

1. How many American troops are in Iraq?

2. How far has the Iraqi government progressed in improving it's ability to run the country after an American withdrawal?

It would appear the answer to the second question is clear. Little has changed in the Iraqi governments ability to govern with a cohesive consensus, and in their ability to provide security stinks (see: Basra, battle to take).

The first question is the really intriguing one to me. Frankly, this quote is the bottom line:

USAT reminds its readers up high that the plan Petraeus put forward yesterday would leave more American troops in Iraq than before the "surge." After July, there would be approximately 140,000 service members in Iraq, and everyone notes there's little chance that number will change much before the presidential election. "Withdrawing too many forces too quickly could jeopardize the progress of the past year," Petraeus said.
The net result of the Bush strategy has been to simply dig America deeper into the Iraq mud pit. I've been consistently calling the "surge" an escalation and that's exactly what it's been.

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