Friday, September 14, 2007


So here we are, almost 9 months after the announcement of the 'Surge' and no closer to resolving the issues in Iraq. Sure, we heard the phrase 'maintain security gains' several times last night, but no real plan to transition successfully from a military mission to a diplomatic one. The closest the President got to saying what I wanted to hear was:
Our troops in Iraq are performing brilliantly. Along with Iraqi forces, they have captured or killed an average of more than 1,500 enemy fighters per month since January. Yet ultimately, the way forward depends on the ability of Iraqis to maintain security gains. According to General Petraeus and a panel chaired by retired General Jim Jones, the Iraqi army is becoming more capable -- although there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the national police. Iraqi forces are receiving increased cooperation from local populations. And this is improving their ability to hold areas that have been cleared.

Because of this success, General Petraeus believes we have now reached the point where we can maintain our security gains with fewer American forces. He has recommended that we not replace about 2,200 Marines scheduled to leave Anbar province later this month. In addition, he says it will soon be possible to bring home an Army combat brigade, for a total force reduction of 5,700 troops by Christmas. And he expects that by July, we will be able to reduce our troop levels in Iraq from 20 combat brigades to 15.
But there was no outright exclamation regarding turning over Iraqi security. Remember, in January, during the Surge sell speech, the President stated:
To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November.
Yet yesterday there was only hints at that, with an accent on 'maintaining security gains'.

What I heard was rhetoric, not results. What was said was more pandering than proven progress. I am disappointed int he inability of this chief executive to just be honest with us. Because this is a battle we can not lose, and as long as the priority is more personal political protection, instead of national security protection, we are in trouble.

But before you start screaming 'liberal', I am as disappointed in the Democratic response. It became even more clear that as we approach the Presidential campaign season, the lines are being drawn thick and dark. The chasm between the two parties is greater than its ever been. And I sit here knowing that until both parties can put personal political gains aside, and place the security interests of this country, and victory in Iraq first and foremost, troops will be in the region indefinitely.

I am certainly not expecting a Kum Ba Yah moment, but I do hope that the two major parties can disengage for a moment and look at what needs to be done together. I don't think a full scale withdrawal is practical, or even appropriate. I also don't believe we need to have over 130,000 sets of boots on the ground in Iraq knowing there are other priorities that need to be addressed that more close relate to maintaining security here at home.

But look at the the irony of the situation. If we, together, as Americans, be it Left, Right, and/or Center can't seem to sit at the same table and develop a plan for victory and success together; how are we suppose to expect the Iraqi's to do the same.

But that's just me!


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