Thursday, November 16, 2006


After his election night "thumping," Preznit Bush promised to reach out to the other party and stop his "It's my way or the way" governing style. Since then he has renominated the controversial and now doomed Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, and renominated a whole slew of wingnut judges that couldn't get through the 55-45 R/D Senate back before the election.

Now according to the Guardian, despite the resounding numbers of Americans who want troop withdrawls from Iraq in the coming months, the preznit has decided to escalate the war:

President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.

Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.

Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.

Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.

The reinforcements will be used to secure Baghdad, scene of the worst sectarian and insurgent violence, and enable redeployments of US, coalition and Iraqi forces elsewhere in the country.

Point two of the plan stresses the importance of regional cooperation to the successful rehabilitation of Iraq. This could involve the convening of an international conference of neighbouring countries or more direct diplomatic, financial and economic involvement of US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.


Point three focuses on reviving the national reconciliation process between Shia, Sunni and other ethnic and religious parties. According to the sources, creating a credible political framework will be portrayed as crucial in persuading Iraqis and neighbouring countries alike that Iraq can become a fully functional state.

To the certain dismay of US neo-cons, initial post-invasion ideas about imposing fully-fledged western democratic standards will be set aside. And the report is expected to warn that de facto tripartite partition within a loose federal system, as advocated by Democratic senator Joe Biden and others would lead not to peaceful power-sharing but a large-scale humanitarian crisis.

Lastly, the sources said the study group recommendations will include a call for increased resources to be allocated by Congress to support additional troop deployments and fund the training and equipment of expanded Iraqi army and police forces. It will also stress the need to counter corruption, improve local government and curtail the power of religious courts.

"You've got to remember, whatever the Democrats say, it's Bush still calling the shots. He believes it's a matter of political will. That's what [Henry] Kissinger told him. And he's going to stick with it," a former senior administration official said. "He [Bush] is in a state of denial about Iraq. Nobody else is any more. But he is. But he knows he's got less than a year, maybe six months, to make it work. If it fails, I expect the withdrawal process to begin next fall."

The "last push" strategy is also intended to give Mr Bush and the Republicans "political time and space" to recover from their election drubbing and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign, the official said. "The Iraq Study Group buys time for the president to have one last go. If the Democrats are smart, they'll play along, and I think they will. But forget about bipartisanship. It's all about who's going to be in best shape to win the White House.

The official added: "Bush has said 'no' to withdrawal, so what else do you have? The Baker report will be a set of ideas, more realistic than in the past, that can be used as political tools. What they're going to say is: lower the goals, forget about the democracy crap, put more resources in, do it."

Long live the king. He's the decider and he has decided the war goes on and Democrats and other war critics will be tarred as "defeatists" if they don't agree wholeheartedly with his "Plan for Victory."

Okay, I get that Bush is a delusional fool who may actually believe there is still a chance for "victory" in Iraq. And I get that politicians on both sides are going to try and maneuver during this critical time to get the advantage for the '08 elections.

But here's what I don't get: does anyone really think 20,000 more troops is going to make that much difference in a war where the current level of 153,000 hasn't? There was a time when 20,000 additional soldiers would have meant something (like after the fall of Baghdad when they could have been used to guard the weapons dumps or after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.) But the sense you get know is that the sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia is so beyond the pale that 20,000 additional troops will not be nearly enough of a force to make any real inroads into the casualty count.

Not to mention that the real problem in Iraq is the power the militias have both in and out of the government. If Bush and the Baker-Hamilton Commission are going to continue to ignore the fact that militiamen in the government are involved in sectarian violence, revenge murders, torture, and other mayhem, then the "Final Push Plan" is going nowhere.

And I didn't see anything in that "Final Push Plan" that advocated curtailing the power of the militias? Because that would be, in Bush parlance, "hard work."

So instead we get a minor escalation of troop levels, a "regional conference" that seems to exclude the two problem powers in the region - Iran and Syria - and more public relations opportunities for the preznit to extol the virtues of victory in Iraq while the reality on the ground continues to deteriorate.

Sounds like victory to me.

And in the background hovers the figure of Henry Kissinger....once again pulling the strings.
Isn't that scary - 35 years later and the motherfucker is still pulling strings. Amazing. And what's even more amazing is that people in power are listening to him.

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