Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, February 28, 2008

  Today in False Promises

Two years ago today, Dick Cheney promised that the US was making steady progress in Iraq and could soon begin drawing down troops.

And our coalition continues to train more Iraqi forces to assume increasing responsibility for their nation's security. As more and more Iraqi security forces complete their training, they're taking on greater responsibility in these efforts. Iraqi troops are increasingly taking the lead in joint operations, conducting independent operations, and expanding the reach and the effectiveness of our own forces.

And as Iraqi security forces grow in size and capability, we're becoming better able to keep urban centers out of the hands of terrorists. One of the challenges we faced was that after clearing out terrorists, there have not always been enough trained Iraqi forces to maintain control. So when coalition forces moved on, terrorists would try to move back in. More and more, however, we're able to leave Iraqi troops in charge because they are increasingly well equipped, properly trained, familiar with the territory, and often can tell who the terrorists are, therefore are able to maintain control. Meanwhile, coalition forces are able to go forward and deal with the threat in other parts of the country, as well as to strengthen security at the borders.

At present, Iraqi personnel are collecting good intelligence, working with civic and religious leaders, and gaining greater confidence among the Iraqi people. This is an ongoing process, obviously, and standing up a capable, effective military requires a patient and a sustained effort. Yet the progress is steady. It is moving in the direction we want, and the people in charge of the effort are doing a superb job. The goal we share with Iraq's government is a full transition to security and to self-reliance, a nation with a constitutionally elected government and capable security forces, an Iraq that is at peace with neighbors and an ally for us in the war on terror.

Going forward, as the Iraqi security forces grow in strength and the political process continues to advance, we'll be able to reduce troop levels without losing our capacity to defeat the terrorists. And in the months ahead, any decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial time lines set by politicians in Washington, D.C.

So much for Bush administration promises as of Feb. 28, 2006. Before the end of the year, each of them was inoperative.

It turned out that George Bush (a politician in Washington) was the one who made the decision to change troop levels in Iraq.

It's my responsibility to provide the American people with a candid assessment on the way forward.

It turned out that, far from "moving in the right direction" in 2006, Iraq was actually going to hell.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people...It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq.

It turned out that, far from becoming better able to hold onto urban centers by leaving them in the hands of Iraqi troops, while moving US troops out to the provinces, the American forces needed to be drawn back into the cities and away from the provinces in order to stem uncontrolled ethno-sectarian cleansing.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis... In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents, but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned.

Far from being "able to reduce troop levels" "in the months ahead", Bush decided to send tens of thousands further US troops. And far from being able to leave Iraqi troops in charge of urban areas because they are "increasingly taking the lead" in operations, the US troop "surge" was mainly directed toward securing Baghdad.

America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them -- five brigades -- will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations.

Predictably, however, the American troops "surging" into Baghdad found that they could not in fact work with unreliable Iraqi units. It just goes to prove again that for Bush and Cheney, Iraq is the graveyard of false promises.

Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face...The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq — it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces. To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government.

This has been another Today-in-False-Promises bulletin.

crossposted from

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