Sunday, February 25, 2007

With allies like this, who needs insurgencies?

England is supposed to be the right hand of the "coalition of the willing." One would think that would qualify the Brits as allies. Well, it seems that they're not so willing anymore. Just as Bush is beginning to surge 21,500 additional troops into Baghdad, his key ally in the war, Tony Blair, is pulling out 2,100 of his own troops from Basra.

In total denial of the implications, the Bush administration is painting the withdrawal as a "sign of success." Vice president Dick Cheney said "I look at it and what I see is an affirmation of the fact that in parts of Iraq ... things are going pretty well." What Cheney failed to consider is that Basra is right on the supply line to Baghdad. With reduced security in the south of Iraq, the logistics supporting the surge are compromised, right at the time when they become most crucial.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces are supposed to be the Americans' allies in Baghdad. Iraq's forces are leading American troops into Baghdad for the White House's 'new' Clear, Hold, and Build strategy (which didn't seem to make a dent in the insurgency when American troops tried it a year ago). However, it turns out the reason the mostly Shiite Iraqi forces are leading the American troops into Baghdad is so that they can warn Shiite residents to hide their weapons and other incriminating paraphernalia from the Americans. It seems the Iraqi forces are more like insurgents than national police officers.

The implication of Bush's 'surge' strategy is that, while there will be an initial swelling in forces, it will not be sustained. However, Gen. David Petraeus's counterinsurgency plan, which is setting up hundreds of "mini-forts" all over Baghdad and the rest of the country, will take at least five years to as much as ten years to complete. With 160,000 American troops leveraged all around Iraq for many years to come, and insecure supply lines, they will need more allies, not more insurgents.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bloating surge

The Commander in Chief has ordered a "surge" of 21,500 troops into Baghdad. Considering the failures of past troop increases in Iraq, many question the effectiveness this one will have calming the violence in a metropolitan area of 8-million. With a majority of Americans now wanting their country to withdraw from the war in Iraq, the "surge" is widely considered just more of the same tactics that have only led to increased violence.

Americans could be happy that at least Bush did not go into six figures for the troop increase since many generals have said that's what was needed early on in the war. After all, it's only a little over 20,000 troops, right? Wrong.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that the deployment of of 21,500 troops could require as much as 28,000 additional troops to support the surge. It went on to say that the cost to sustain the surge could be as high as $27-billion if it's sustained for a year. Of course the cost that can't be calculated is the additional deaths that our military will sustain by having an additional 50,000 targets in Iraq.

To prevent Bush from following through on his planned surge, the senate is trying to pass a non-binding resolution opposing it. Of course, Bush's signing statements show his total disregard for binding law, so there's no expectation he'll pay any attention to the non-binding resolution.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

An incomplete title

The New York Times today published an article titled U.S. Says Iran Meddles in Iraq but Is Delaying Release of Data. It actually should've been titled "U.S. Says Iran Meddles in Iraq but Is Delaying Release of Data Until the Bush Administration Gets the Chance to Finish Fabricating It." They're not successful connecting the dots with the data they have now.