After the surge, Iraq is still a mess

An Iraq strategy for the rest of President Bush’s term seems to be emerging from consultations between the White House and commanding Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The public will get a fuller look at that strategy when the two return to Washington to testify before Congress April 8 and 9.

Although the Bush administration insists the surge worked — at the cost of 2007 being the deadliest year of the war for U.S. troops — the military progress was not matched by political progress and there has been no talk of continuing, let alone doubling down on, the surge.

Instead, the five extra brigades that made up the surge are to be withdrawn by July, reducing the numbers of U.S. troops to pre-surge levels of about 140,000 troops and 15 combat brigades.

Then there will come — the administration is still searching for the right word — a plateau, a pause, a period of consolidation and evaluation. In other words, the administration will quit pulling troops out until the president’s advisers see what happens.

What happens next may be determined by two elections — ours and the Iraqis’.

The Bush administration likely will stick with the existing troop levels. The withdrawal of the five brigades constitutes something of a nod to public opinion, and the probable Republican nominee, John McCain, favors a vigorous prosecution of the war.

And we may not be able to withdraw more troops. In Iraq’s seemingly endless series of unpleasant surprises, the Shiite-run and U.S.-backed Iraqi government is doing battle with Shiite criminal gangs in the south and renegade Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia near Baghdad seems to be preparing for some kind of confrontation.

Moreover, the Iraqi regional elections are in October, and it is essential to our political strategy that these come off peacefully and efficiently.

The upshot is that the Iraqi problem will be handed intact to the next president. If it’s McCain, he will have to summon the popular will to keep on fighting the war on the promise he will do it better. Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton will get to try a wildly optimistic plan for staged withdrawals and redeployment. Either way, the problem will still be there.


  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Ol’ Muqtada baby is getting restless as well as Sunni’s are getting restless because Shite president Nouri al-Maliki’s government is not allowing them into positions for sharing power.

    The artifical truce which is merly being held in check by
    BushCo paying off Sunni’s and Shites not to fight each other can’t last for long and its showing signs of strain, plus insurgent activity is starting to pick up again.

    For Jeusus Jackson’s Sake, how much more of this Stool Sample Sandwich is Amerika going to eat. There’s no reconcilliation between the Sunnis & Shites, and its been like that for five years.

    The Democrappers have however, already inherited the Broken Pottery and the Chimp knows this and the Chimp is bouncing off the walls of the White Trash House in joy because he knows he got away with having his hand in the cookie jar and he’ll be off to Paraguy when his terms is over and crashing his mountain bike into Banana trees down in paradise.

    The Best thing that the Jack-Ass party has to offer us as president is Pillary Dillary Crock, the Lexus Liberal Traitor taking money from Rupert Murdoch, the defense industry, pharmaceutical industry & health insurance whores industry.

    Times are tough -huh Bud!