Pentagon planners have examined President George W. Bush’s “new” plan for his failed Iraq war and most agree on one key point: It won’t work.
“There is a lot of concern that this won’t work,” a key military official told The New York Times.
That concern is echoed by the number two American commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen Raymond Odierno, who admitted in an interview with Nancy Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers that Bush’s proposed “troop” surge would not be enough to rescue Iraq.
Military leaders, past and present, say any strategy based on Iraq being able to lead and defend itself is hopeless.
“I don’t know that the Iraqi government has ever demonstrated ability to lead the country, and we shouldn’t be surprised,” says retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner, the first U.S. official in charge of postwar Baghdad. “You’ll never find, in my lifetime, one man that all the Iraqis will coalesce around.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a memo delivered to the White House last week, told Bush the military does not have enough forces to support a “surge and accelerate” strategy, pointing out that the Army has only one battle ready brigade of about 3,500 troops ready to deploy.
Reserves of both the Army and Marines, the memo said, are exhausted.
Diplomatic strategists worry that Bush’s plan ignores the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation to bring Iran and Syria into the mix in an effort to stabilize Iraq.
“Diplomacy is something that is always lacking from any Bush strategy,” a veteran State Department official told Capitol Hill Blue.
Such concerns are not lost on Capitol Hill where Democrats promise greater scrutiny of Bush’s plans and threaten to withhold funds if the President does not provide acceptable justifications for his actions.
“There is now a civil war. You need a political solution,” said Sen Joe Biden on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Biden called Bush’s “surge” plan “a prescription for another tragedy.”
Bush is also finding growing Republican concern over his handling of the Iraq war.
GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel calls the plan “Alice in Wonderland.” Sen. Norm Coleman adds: “I will stand against any plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq.”