Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dodging Bullets

Frustration by design, or sincere ignorance, you make the call:
Asked repeatedly yesterday what "conditions" he is looking for to begin substantial U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq after this summer's scheduled drawdown, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said he will know them when he sees them. For frustrated lawmakers, it was not enough.
So he doesn't know what it will take, but will know it when he sees it. O . . K . . ?
A year ago, the president said we couldn't withdraw because there was too much violence," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "Now he says we can't afford to withdraw because violence is down." Asked Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.): "Where do we go from here?"
Buy stock in WD40, the wheels on the goal posts are getting a work out!
Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker echoed what they said seven months ago in their last update to Congress -- often using similar words. Iraq's armed forces continue to improve, overall levels of violence are lower than they were last year, and political reconciliation is happening, albeit still more slowly than they would like.
I'm all for progress, and I have supported the Surge as well as this engagement all along. However, I grow weary with the rest of the electorate as it seem to be more clear each day there is no end game. However, the General did confirm the Surge draw down will continue, before a 45 day pause to re-evaluate begins. That pause will commence about the same time my son is due in country.
Petraeus said he has recommended to President Bush that the planned withdrawal of the five "surge" combat brigades by the end of July be followed by a 45-day hiatus for "consolidation and evaluation." Then, Petraeus said, he would begin "a process of assessment to examine the conditions on the ground" and determine whether to recommend "further reductions as conditions permit."
The President stated that the primary goal of the surge was to turn over Iraqi security to the Iraqi's by last November. Last I checked, he was only half way there. I don't think a full scale withdrawal is responsible, but neither is using our troops as pawns in a political game of electoral chess. That is what it seems like is happening.


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