Friday, November 23, 2007

Iraq semi-withdrawal bill ‘has more holes than Swiss cheese’

That’s our Democratic Congress! Is this the best it can do?

The Democrats; flagship proposal on Iraq is aimed at bringing most troops home. Yet if enacted, the law would still allow for tens of thousands of U.S. troops to stay deployed for years to come. … For those who want troops out, “you’ve got more holes in here than Swiss cheese,” said Tom Andrews, national director of the war protest group Win Without War and a former congressman from Maine.

Loophole No. 1, of course, is this:
The proposal also sets a goal of ending combat by Dec. 15, 2008.

After that, troops remaining in Iraq would be restricted to three missions: counterterrorism, training Iraqi security forces and protecting U.S. assets, including diplomats.

With all three exceptions, you have the “hot pursuit” issue, and what if it escalates? In the last month or so before the Battle of the Bulge, when more and more of limited U.S. supplies were shifted north to the U.S. First Army, or even to the British 21st Army Group, Gen. Patton would find ways of deliberately expanding extended reconnoiterings and limited counteroffenses into actual battles.

Proof positive that’s what could happen in Iraq?
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy chief of staff for operations in Iraq, declined to estimate how many troops might be needed under the Democrats' plan but said it would be hard to accomplish any of those missions without a significant force.

“It’s a combination of all of our resources and capabilities to be able to execute these missions the way that we are,” Barbero said in a recent phone interview from Baghdad.

For example, Barbero said that “several thousand” troops are assigned to specialized anti-terrorism units focused on capturing high profile terrorist targets. But they often rely on the logistics, security and intelligence provided by conventional troops, he said.

“When a brigade is operating in a village, meeting with locals, asking questions, collecting human intelligence on these very same (terrorist) organizations, that intelligence comes back and is merged and fed into this counterterrorism unit,” Barbero said. “So are they doing counterterrorism operations?

“It’s all linked and simultaneous,” he added. “You can’t separate it cleanly like that.”

On the training issue, what if Iraqi soldiers and security units prove as unwilling to take to training over the next 2-3 years as they have the last 2-3? Are Congressional Democrats, PLUS, the next president, should he or she be a Democrat, going to just pound more sand down that rathole?

Oh, and don’t expect attitudes to greatly change after Jan. 20, 2009. Too many Democrats are invested in the Bipartisan Foreign Policy Consensus™.