"Alice in Wonderland"
What is needed? Reconstruction teams and trainers. What would be a half-measure provoking more harm than good? A small "surge" that can't stop the sectarian violence and the insurgencies, but can put more Americans in harms way -- thus reducing the political will to fight in this country.
So guess what the Decider is up to, BBC News (my emphasis):
So guess what the Decider is up to, BBC News (my emphasis):
US President George W Bush intends to reveal a new Iraq strategy within days, the BBC has learnt.Ross McGinnis, a very brave PFC, is remembered in today's Washington Post. An SF operator had this to say in the story (my juxtaposition):
The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq to focus on ways of bringing greater security, rather than training Iraqi forces.
The move comes with figures from Iraqi ministries suggesting that deaths among civilians are at record highs.
The US president arrived back in Washington on Monday after a week-long holiday at his ranch in Texas.
The BBC was told by a senior administration source that the speech setting out changes in Mr Bush's Iraq policy is likely to come in the middle of next week.
Its central theme will be sacrifice.
The speech, the BBC has been told, involves increasing troop numbers.
The exact mission of the extra troops in Iraq is still under discussion, according to officials, but it is likely to focus on providing security rather than training Iraqi forces.
The proposal, if it comes, will be highly controversial.
"The fatal flaw was when right after September 11 the president asked everyone to go on with their lives. That set the stage for no one sacrificing," said a Special Forces team sergeant who recently served in Iraq. "That's why they aren't behind it, because they don't have a stake in this war. They aren't losing or gaining anything. If you don't see it, smell it, feel it, how are you connected?"The Financial Times:
But criticism of the planned “surge” in US forces is growing from within his own party as the death toll of US troops in Iraq rises. The figure last month passed the toll from the September 11 attacks and at the weekend independent groups confirmed the death of the 3,000th US soldier in the country.Robert Novak, a prominent GOP insider, offered this over the holiday, Washington Post:
In the past two days, a number of prominent Republican senators, including Arlen Specter and Richard Lugar, the outgoing chairmen of the Senate judiciary and foreign relations committees, have voiced strong scepticism about an increase in troops.
Although Mr Bush could expect the support of John McCain, the 2008 presidential hopeful, and Lindsey Graham, another Republican senator, the Republican tide appears to be moving against boosting troop levels. A number of Republicans have pointed out that Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, is also opposed to a beefed-up US military presence.
Mr Bush is also likely to face implacable opposition to any increase in US troop levels from the Democratic party, which controls both houses of the new US Congress that commences on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration faces the likelihood of tough senate hearings throughout January that Joseph Biden, the new Democratic chairman of the foreign relations committee, plans to hold from next week.
President Bush and McCain, the front-runner for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, will have trouble finding support from more than 12 of the 49 Republican senators when pressing for a surge of 30,000 troops. "It's Alice in Wonderland," Sen. Chuck Hagel, second-ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told me in describing the proposal. "I'm absolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly."America's commitment to Iraq must be finite, because it simply cannot be any other way. Not only are our resources and resolve finite, but also the problems in that country require an Iraqi political solution. Political progress must accompany any continuation of American involvement in that country. If it does not, then our time there will be all sacrifice and no success. Our ability to control the security situation is minimal. The apparent troop increase will not be sufficient to change this fact. What is needed is additonal trainers, embedded coalition forces (NCOs, junior officers) and reconstruction efforts, such as CMDR Lee's, CENTCOM:
Among Democrats, Lieberman stands alone. Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, will lead the rest of the Democrats not only to oppose a surge but to block it. Bush enters a new world of a Democratic majority where he must share the stage.
Just as the president is ready to address the nation on Iraq, Biden next week begins three weeks of hearings on the war. On the committee, Biden and Democrats Christopher Dodd (Conn.), John Kerry (Mass.), Russell Feingold (Wis.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) will compete for intensity in criticizing a troop surge. But on the Republican side of the committee, no less probing scrutiny of Bush's proposals will come from Chuck Hagel.
“At one point the local tribal leaders and the population at large fought against us. But as they observed our continuing efforts to improve their communities, they’ve taken noticeable steps switching their alliance from sympathizing with the insurgents to helping us get the security situation under control,” Lee explained.
“We’re working on schools, water and sewage treatment plants, hospitals and primary healthcare centers, electrical generation and distribution networks, waterway maintenance, roadways, police and fire stations and the local residents appreciate our efforts. Those times I would get discouraged about the ongoing challenges, it just took a stop in one of the many villages we were assessing for projects to get re-energized about our mission. The thankful smiles of their youngsters did it for me every time.”