Monday, May 7, 2007

Absent a Major Change, Surrender Will Occur Commencing In September

The Washington Post reports that Democrat plans are coallescing around the September brief by General Petraeus as being one of two possible triggers for forcing retreat from Iraq. The other trigger seems to be a July date for a briefing on the progress of the war. In either event, the Democrats are being joined by some Republicans who are no longer operating on principal. Instead of focusing the debate on the incalculable costs of retreating from Iraq, they have allowed the far left to set the terms of the debate:

Congressional leaders from both political parties are giving President Bush a matter of months to prove that the Iraq war effort has turned a corner, with September looking increasingly like a decisive deadline.
I disagree with that characterization. I think it is clear that most Republicans are waiting for September to see if General Petraeus is able to report favorable long term trends. The Democrats are ready to declare defeat today, and will only wait until September as a last resort. Given that Jack Murtha, Harry Reid and Carl Levin have already begun a preemptive campaign to paint General Petreus as someone who cannot be believed, do not expect the Democrats, under any scenario - including an improving situation in Iraq - to do anything but to continue to press for defeat.
In that month, political pressures in Washington will dovetail with the military timeline in Baghdad. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, has said that by then he will have a handle on whether the current troop increase is having any impact on political reconciliation between Iraq's warring factions. And fiscal 2008, which begins Oct. 1, will almost certainly begin with Congress placing tough new strings on war funding.

"Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised they will get a straight story on the surge by September," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). "I won't be the only Republican, or one of two Republicans, demanding a change in our disposition of troops in Iraq at that point. That is very clear to me."

. . . House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has taken a hard line in Bush's favor, said Sunday, "By the time we get to September, October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B."

Democrats were crowing yesterday over what they saw as the clearest signs yet that Republican unity behind the president is beginning to crack. And House Democrats are preparing to up the ante with new legislation that would demand a turnaround in the war by the end of July.

House Democratic leaders are coming together around legislation that would fund the war through September but would withhold more than half of those funds until July, when Bush would have to report on the Iraqi government's progress toward benchmarks such as quelling sectarian violence, disarming militias and sharing oil revenue equitably. Congress would then have to vote in late July to release the remaining funds.
Look for these proposed bench marks to be poison pills, such as de-Baathification which, really, is no longer of the significant importance that it once was. De-Baathification was thought to be the key to brining Sunnis into the government fold. But Sunnis have begun to join the government in droves, irrespective of the status of de-Baathification. Further, such a law promises to be very divisive.
The bill, which could come to a House vote as early as Friday, faces significant obstacles in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) wants to allow the House debate to unfold, in part to see whether the plan will appeal to Republicans.

Some House Democratic leaders are worried that another showdown vote this summer will keep the party's domestic agenda off track. And White House spokesman Tony Snow pronounced the bill "not helpful."
What domestic agenda? This Congress has managed to pass none of the domestic legislation upon which they campaigned. Nor has it suceeded in addressing ear marks or corruption. This Congress is far more about destroying Bush and conservatism then it is about legislating anything of significance.
. . . The new House proposal would immediately provide about $43 billion of the $95.5 billion the administration says it needs to keep the war going through Sept. 30. That infusion would come with language establishing benchmarks of success for the Iraqi government, and it is likely to include tougher standards for resting, training and equipping troops. Binding timelines for troop withdrawals would be dropped to try to win Republican support and avoid a second veto.
This is Murtha trying to leave in his unconstitutional poison pills that cannot possibly be signed into law by the President. One, such congressionally mandated standards would be unconstitutional. Congress funds - only the President commands. Two, those particular provisions were nothing more then an incredibly cynical gaming of the military system by Murtha in order to prevent troops from being sent to Iraq.

More specifically, not a single soldier or unit has been deployed into combat untrained. Two, Murtha's plan was to prevent units from deploying from the U.S. by requiring them to be at a C-1 readiness rating. The readiness system is based on three factors, people, training and equipment. To be C-1 ready, units have to be rated 90% or above in all three areas. Our troops will never be C-1 on the date of deployment overseas because they do not take their heavy equipment, but rather fall in on that equipment when they arrive in Kuwait. And further, once in Kuwait, our troops not only pick up their equipment, but are given a few weeks to acclimate and conduct all necessary training not otherwise conducted in the U.S. The numbers of units we have sent from Kuwait into combat areas in Iraq or Afghanistan that have been rated less then C-1, fully mission capable are precisely zero. But, with Murtha's planned limits, we would essentially be unable to deploy new units either to Iraq or Afghanistan. If this is in the bill, the President will have to veto it again.
The remaining $52.5 billion in the bill would be contingent on a second vote in late July, after the administration's progress report.

Democrats say that is a reasonable time frame for the first assessment of Bush's troop increase, since the last of the additional troops being sent to Iraq will arrive this month.
The only reason to do this is a Democratic hope to wage what will be a pre-emptive campaign against the long term trends General Petraeus will report in September.
But Petraeus has said repeatedly that it will be at least another month or two after the troops are in place before it will be possible to assess the impact of those reinforcements and, just as important, of the new U.S. approach that is moving combat troops off big, isolated bases and into dozens of smaller combat outposts across Baghdad. When he visited Washington last month, Petraeus told members of Congress that he will be ready to assess his progress by September.

Not even the most optimistic military officials think Baghdad will be quiet by then, but they think they might be able to discern long-term trends.

Given that Harry Reid declared the surge failed and our military defeated by four al Qaeda bombers that exploded themselves the day before his statement, do not expect the Democrats to listen to anything about long term trends. The big push to get us out of Iraq was because it had become a "civil war." With sectarian violence down by two thirds and the vast majority of casualties now being caused by al Qaeda in Iraq's suicide bombs, it would seem that the justification for surrender is already suspect. Nonetheless, the Democrats will seize on any large scale bombs occurring in September to claim the flag of surrender. I am sure this is not lost on Al Qaeda or the Iranians. Look for August and September to be very bloody months for our troops and for the civilians in Iraq. You can thank Harry Reid for that.

Unless Republicans - and Democrats driven by some principal other then partisan political power - start to challenge the gross distortions of the Democrats (see here, here, here and here), and center a true debate on the critical issues, the sheer weight of the endless stream of mindless sound bites coming out of the Democratic leadership will prevail. I truly think that the writing is already on the wall. General Petraeus could claim complete cessation of violence within six months as likely, and it would not matter. The far left will have their surrender, and Bush's head to hang on their wall. And all Americans will pay the price of emboldened radical Islamists, a nuclear Iran, and a greatly destablized Middle East. But all that will likely be after the '08 elections. No reason to start worrying yet, at least according to MoveOn.org and Harry Reid.

Read the entire article here.

1 comment:

HillbillyPolitics said...

You're right about the writing upon the wall. No matter what Gen. Petraeus says, it will not be enough. That's the "glory" of their plan because it still keeps the responsibility on someone else who can't play by the rules because the rules change every time he gets close to being able to fulfill them.

 

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