The clock is running
Atrios posted this
Declaring Victory and Pretending to Get Out
Attaturk's got the right idea. Certainly, as Josh says, this is all about the 2006 elections bt it's more complicated than that. I'm sticking with my "we're never leaving while George Bush is in office." The number of troops in Iraq is now at near record levels, so decreasing that number somewhat is possible simply by reverting back to the average. Perhaps they'll go down to 100,000 as that's a nice round number.I disagree with this.
Still, it isn't just the fact that the troops are there that's a problem it's the fact that they're dying. If troop strength is decreased simply for electoral purposess and the declining numbers leave those who remain more vulnerable then that's a problem.
The fact is that the Army has until mid-summer 2006 to remain a viable force in Iraq. Both Guard and RA enlistments are coming to an end, and people cannot do more than three tours in Iraq. A fourth tour would pretty much guarantee a broken marriage and or severe injury. The human body can take only so much stress.
Sure, the units may remain there, but the edge will slowly and permanently slide over to the resistance.
Bush may want to remain in Iraq forever, but rumblings of deployal refusals are in the air. You cannot send Guard units on repeat tours, some shouldn't have been sent on one.
Once you start reducing troops, the pressure to bring them home increases expoentially, and their combat effectiveness declines. If you leave 50,000 troops in Iraq, they won't be able to move. They will be under increasing attacks daily and soon penned in their bases.
We are short by at least two-thirds of the troops we need there to provide security and place the Resistance on their heels. The fact is that fewer troops just make for more targets. Holding Anbar becomes impossible, then Tirkit goes. If the British leave, the South is gone.
And at that time, people get ideas. Like, oh, let's cut off a US base, or lets ambush a patrol and kill everyone as a lesson.
Once we start to wind down, the pressure for a total withdrawal becomes inexorable. The Iraqi government is making that point all too clear by defending the resistance.
posted by Steve @ 2:57:00 PM