Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE END OF THE SURGE....According to the Washington Post, White House aides say that President Bush will announce on Thursday that he plans to withdraw 30,000 troops from Iraq by the middle of next year:

They said the president plans to emphasize that he is in a position to order troop cuts only because of the success achieved on the ground in Iraq, and that he is not being swayed by political opposition. Aides said that he plans to outline once again what he sees as the dire consequences of failure in Iraq and that he will make the troop cuts conditional on continued military gains.

Look, Bush is a politician and I don't blame him for putting the best face on his decisions. Still, this is pretty rich. Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that we're not withdrawing these troops next year because we've achieved some grand success on the ground in Iraq. We haven't, and Bush knows it. We're withdrawing them because the Army has no operational choice.

However, while I don't really blame Bush for trying this ploy, I do blame Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman for letting it stand without bothering to tell their readers the truth. It's not that hard, guys.

Kevin Drum 12:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

Declare victory and get out?

Posted by: Bruce A. on September 12, 2007 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Besides, if it really was a "surge," it was supposed to be temporary all along, which is how it was billed when first announced. So why is this some grand gesture?

Posted by: John de Hoog on September 12, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

The headlines should read "Surge Extended To Next Summer."

Instead, the media are portraying this as a troop withdrawal pure and simple. No mention of the fact that the surge was supposed to last only a few months. No mention of the fact that Bush's "endorsement" of the "troop withdrawal" was tentative and replete with a bevy of qualifications and caveats.

Posted by: zeke on September 12, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

It is not the withdrawal of the 30000 that they are referring to, but the withdrawal of the troops that would have been sent by them if they had wanted to do so. The good General told us so.

See it's all so simple.

Posted by: gregor on September 12, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

If "everyone on the planet knows it", Kevin, then why worry about the fact that the Post didn't mention it? The truth, of coure, is that -- in a nation where (according to Gallup in 2001) 1/3 of the people think we were on NORTH Vietnam's side in the Vietnam War -- there will be quite an impressive number of schnooks who don't know it and will fall for Bush's new line.

So: now that the Groundhog Day War has won yet another 6-month extension (with very little resistance from the Dems), anyone care to place bets now on whether or not it will get still another 6-month extension next March?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on September 12, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

It has been pointed out in many places that all this "troop withdrawal" means is that the "surge" has ended and the troops will be moved out, as was already promised. The part that is really a bad omen is that betrayus has said that we will have 100,000 troops there for the next 10 years at least. We will be broke within three years and we will have no capability to defend the nation if someone decides that we are vulnerable. After all, Russia and China are not going to sit by while we take over the world and all of its resources.

Posted by: BearCountry on September 12, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

So now we know how Bush will play his endgame. In 2008 he will declare that things are going so swimmingly well in Iraq that he can withdraw 30,000 troops. That will allow him to declare victory (of a sort) and he'll be showered with gratitude from the nation, producing a small but measurable bump in his approval ratings.

When the next (Democratic) president faces the inevitable and removes the remaining 100,000 troops, he or she will be blamed for the resulting bloodbath and for ruining Bush's great Iraq success. Republicans will angrily denounce the new president for our defeat and insist that we would have won the war if only America had elected another Republican. Among the Republican faithful a storyline will gradually emerge that we were SO close to winning in Iraq until the Defeatocrats were put in charge. And that's the way history books get written.

Posted by: Oregonian on September 12, 2007 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

The troops will continue to hang out as long as the Republican party donors are on the Pentagon's payroll.

Why the democrats keep paying their political enemies, I have no idea.

And why democrat voters keep voting for democrat politicians, who are spineless, and have sold out every last principle, I also have no idea.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 12, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

In 2003, conservatards laughed at me when I said the reason I didn't think we should invade Iraq was that I was worried about my 4 and 6 year old daughters being of draft age.

2007, they're 8 and 10.

2017, they're 18 and 20.

Like I said four years ago, I was worried about my daughters being of draft age.

Posted by: jerry on September 12, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce,

Maybe that 1/3 of the people who think we were on North Vietnam's side in the Vietnam War is the democratic base remembering where they stood on the war?

Posted by: brian on September 12, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Ohhh, brian is sooooo clever!

Got his licks in on the Dirty Fucking Hippies!

I think its more likely that 1/3 is part of your crowd buttmunch.

Probably the same retards who watch fox and think that Saddam did 9/11.

But do go on.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on September 12, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

I do blame Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman for letting it stand without bothering to tell their readers the truth.

And how did they not tell the truth? The President and his aides did say what the article said they did. So how can what Abramowitz and Weisman said be a lie? Of course, liberals have their "news" they wish for the media to report. But what you wanted them to say had already been reported in the Washington Post and many other news sources previously. So why would the journalists Abramowitz and Weisman want to go over old ground again?

The public wants to read about the fresh news which just happened at the moment. They don't want to hear about old news again. How many times do newspapers talk about Neil Armstrong and the moon landing? How many times do they talk about the Titanic sinking? Answer: not many. If some readers want to go back and re-read some old news like the moon landing or the Titanic, they can just look over the old issues. Journalists aren't forced to say the same thing over and over again just because you want them to. They should write about what is happening in the world currently and not in the past which is what this article did.

Posted by: Al on September 12, 2007 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that we're not withdrawing these troops next year because we've achieved some grand success on the ground in Iraq. We haven't, and Bush knows it. We're withdrawing them because the Army has no operational choice.

We're not withdrawing them! That which Bush takes away with one hand he restores with the other! Bush will do what he's done every last time it's come to needing the political cover of fewer troops - He increases private contracting contracts and the numbers of privatized mercenaries, and then he classifies the numbers and amounts.

The private contractors are doing the same jobs as our troops, for a lot more money, less training (another one of the dirty secrets of this war), and with the good equipment.

By next year, Bush will have achieved what he went into this hoping for: the war in Iraq (which will have morphed into the war with Syria and Iran) will be between brown people. He'll have them fighting each other, but being paid with American taxpayer's dollars. Imported Pakistanis, among others, working as (or for) the subcontractors will be the face of the war.

Posted by: Maeven on September 12, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

hmm.. i came here to seriously comment, but all the comments are ridiculous.

Posted by: goodtroll on September 12, 2007 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

It really has been a variation on that old joke about the man who walks into the bar snapping his fingers. And the bartender, puzzled, asks him why he is snapping his fingers, and the man replies, "To keep the elephants away." The bartender is amused and astonished, "But there are no elephants around here, not for 100 miles!" The man nods knowingly, "You see. It works!"

Bush announces in a speech that he has sent "surge" troops to Iraq. And the American people, puzzled, asks him why he is sending MORE troops to Iraq, and Bush replies, "To give the Iraqis time to form a stable government." The American people are not amused, though they are astonished, "But Iraq shows no signs of progress! " Bush nods knowingly, "You see. It is working! In fact, we need to continue doing the same thing for another year, and then, having achieved our success, we will be in a position to withdraw troops!"

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 12, 2007 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

Brian

It was considerably less than 1/3 who wanted the US to stay in Vietname, and none of them wanted themselves or their kids to stay in Vietnam.

For all the talk I hear about that small group of people who lost Vietnam, I have to wonder, if the majority wanted us to stay and fight, why did Republican presidents like Nixon and Ford take us out?

By 1968, the war was so unpopular that even Nixon had to run on his "Secret Plan to End the War." Of course, his secret plan turned out to end it by getting our ass kicked in Cambodia, cutting and running in Vietnam and getting himself thrown out of office for burglarly.

Posted by: tomeck on September 12, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Bush lies
Soldiers die.

It's as simple a relationship as there can possibly be.

Posted by: ny patriot on September 12, 2007 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Every media outlet which I saw or heard reported the coming troop reduction as a choice suggested by Petreus. None have pointed out that the number of troops in Iraq cannot be sustained without an expansion in the size of the armed forces before next spring.

Posted by: Peter VE on September 12, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe that 1/3 of the people who think we were on North Vietnam's side in the Vietnam War is the democratic base remembering where they stood on the war?

Ah, where would dishonest ayuthoritarians like brian be without the Dolchstosslegende?

One really does wonder, though, at the fact that creeps like brian seems to feel not a twinge of shame in appropriating this tactic straight from Goebbels' playbook.

But then, one is forced to wonder at the lack of shame Bush apologists like brian -- whose zeal in promoting the long-debunked myth of Republican competence on defense approaches the, ah professional -- displays in general. An honorable person would retreat in shame at having been exposed so often as a dishonest, clueless hack.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

It is refreshing to know the beer halls of Munich have Wi-Fi - Thanks, brian for sharing - How is the Putsch coming along?

Also nice to see Senator David Vitter handing a DC phone number to the General during a recess - Might need some R%R following such tough grilling.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 12, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "However, while I don't really blame Bush for trying this ploy, I do blame Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman for letting it stand without bothering to tell their readers the truth. It's not that hard, guys."

Abramowitz and Weisman are employees of The Washington Post. As such they are not paid to "tell their readers the truth". They are paid to spread the Cheney-Bush administration's propaganda.

Since the presidential campaign of 1999-2000, The Washington Post has a consistent track record of being a propaganda outlet for the Cheney-Bush machine.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 12, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think there are operational choices, although they might require thinking outside the box. Here are three options, if the US really wanted to keep extra troops in Iraq for a longer period of time:

1. Increase the size of our military. Recruitment is doing well in all services.

2. Move some troops to Iraq from somewhere else, such as South Korea or Germany.

3. Lean really hard on some of our allies to add more troops.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Another possibility is to raise the age limit and lower the IQ level, to allow the immediate induction of FAUX-Lib into the ranks. Then cancel the Halliburton KP contracts, and FAUX can really mop up.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 12, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

What a crock of shit. Bush is just reducing the number of troops to pre-surge levels. Impeach the piece of shit and give him something else to worry about. Goddamn gutless Democrats.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 12, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Here are three options, if the US really wanted to keep extra troops in Iraq for a longer period of time

"ex-liberal"'s so-called "three options" have been dealt with on other threads, including his false claim that recruiting "is doing well in all services" -- which, of course, doesn't stop him from reposting his drivel here, because bad faith is what he's all about -- but the point is, thanks to the mess Bush has made of this occupation, the US really doesn't want to keep troops in Iraq for a longer time.

The beauty of it is, even most warfloggers like "ex-liberal' tacitly agree -- you don't see them rushing out to join the Army, or encouraging their children to sacrifice their lives on tha latar of Bush's ego and the necons' political ambitions.

It must have given you a special, sick thrill to post such insulting drivel, "ex-liberal." Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Get out of Iraq pronto with my amazing plan:

50 US senators agree to not fund the war appropriation bill next week.Easy? No?

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on September 12, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal - *lean really hard on some of our allies to add more troops*

What allies? You ain't got no allies old mate. Spain went from Iraq years ago. France - those cheese eating surrender monkeys never went in to Iraq in the first place when success for the Coalition was certain - why should they now that failure and defeat are inevitable? Ditto Germany. Australia - Howard is arse licker enough to be willing to send a few hundred more troops - but there is too much popular opposition in Oz. And us in the UK - we're scuttling out (wise rats leaving the sinking ship), not preparing to send more troops our meagre army is already overstretched in the folly of Afghanistan. So who do you think the wanker Bush could lean really hard on? Morrocco? Samoa? Malta, Monaco, Andorra, Leichtenstein.....?

Bush lean really hard on his "allies"? Like what would this hard leaning involve? Threaten to undermine their economies - Anerica? HA HA HA HA. Invade? Send carrier groups patrolling offshore? Stamp his feet in futile fury? We are all trembling at the threats ex-liberal sees being made against America's allies. King Lear said in his madness "I will do such things - what they are I know not - but they will be the terror of the world!" And so too Dubbya. (Why does nobody call him that any more?)

Posted by: brit on September 12, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

50 US senators agree to not fund the war appropriation bill next week.Easy? No?

Cheney. Tie-breaker.

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

1. Increase the size of our military. Recruitment is doing well in all services.

Which is a lie, but now that the GWB econ is once again shedding jobs, I expect that recruitment will indeed increase. Heckuva job!

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: . Lean really hard on some of our allies to add more troops.


current coalition in iraq:

brits = 5% (and will be dropping)

20-other countries total = 4% (and will be dropping)

USA = 91%

ex...so you think...after 4.5-years...gwb hasn't leaned enough?

Posted by: mr. irony on September 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Must. Resist. Urge. To bring up the writers' last names. And connect them to the neocon/Likudnik right.... Damn!

Posted by: Jim J on September 12, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lax at 12:24 PM:
...they might require thinking outside the box...
You never have yet

.... Recruitment is doing well in all services....
In order to compensate for lowering recruitment, bonus pay up, standards lowered, age limit raised. You're blowing smoke out your arse.
...Move some troops to Iraq from somewhere else...
Troops have been rotated from everywhere, chum. As of 2005, 1,048,884 troops have fought in wars since 9-11 ...Indeed, the revelation that well over 1 million U.S. troops have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan surprises even close military observers...

Lean really hard on some of our allies to add more troops
Does the US have any more allies in or outside the box that it can buy? Ya think?

Posted by: Mike on September 12, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

If we're staying in Iraq in such force to defend the Emerald Palace when we've already lost control over most areas of strategic interest (Iraqi South, oil, Basra, port, pipelines), that's like defending your ego when you're in quicksand. Or like getting a boob job with the last of your cash when the Doc says you've got cancer.
--cognitorex blogspot--

Posted by: cognitorex on September 12, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to understand why there is no operational choice here?

Here's one right in the article you post.

[quote]Pentagon planners say they can't maintain the surge beyond that without extending deployments beyond the current 15 months, and the nation's top military leaders have said they can't do that with inflicting significant damage on the Army and the Marine Corps.[/quote]

May not be a good choice, but to say he cannot do it is disingenuous. I also know for a fact that the 4th ID is currently in texas and could be deployed as an emergency force I expect if needed.

Posted by: dude1394 on September 12, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

I also know for a fact that the 4th ID is currently in texas and could be deployed as an emergency force I expect if needed.

But who then will keep the Sandanistas from invading across the Rio Grande?

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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