Keep in mind that it was over three years ago that George Bush stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, with the mission accomplished banner splashed behind him, and announced that America and its allies had prevailed in the war against Iraq. Three years later, the Senate can't even hold a civil debate on a timetable for withdrawing our troops from the midst of a serious and growing insurgent civil war. Republicans, at Karl Rove's bidding, accuse veteran Democrats like John Martha and John Kerry of wanting to "cut and run". In the Senate today, both resolutions on timetables for troop withdrawals from Iraq were voted down.
Just recently, Congress voted for another supplementary spending bill totaling over 90 billion dollars to fund continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the grand total so far to well over 300 billion dollars. Even as the US pours borrowed money into these fiscal (and political) black holes, we are nonetheless running out of money in Iraq, and the Bush administration is being forced to shut down reconstruction projects, and pull contracts from US firms who have proved incapable of fulfilling their no-bid construction projects.
Beyond the well-documented Iraqi government corruption and billions of dollars-gone-missing in Iraq, another major reason for the huge cost overruns is that vast sums of money have been spent on private security contractors and mercenaries who cost the DoD 3 to 5 times as much money as enlisted personnel to perform the same job. This is just one more facet of the Bush administration 's policy to privatize (monetize) all government functions, including the military.
The chicken hawks in the Bush administration, who never themselves served a single day in the military, talk plenty of tough-guy chicken hawk talk, and call war veterans like John Murtha "cowards who want to cut and run". But when it comes to actually getting things right in Iraq, and implementing a workable exit strategy, the Bush administration just can 't walk the walk.
But any discussion of a timetable for troop withdrawal might be moot, because unfortunately, the Bush administration may not want any exit strategy for Iraq. They refuse to renounce the idea of permanent US military bases in Iraq, and they are building what looks like a permanent military infrastructure there. Questions we might ask ourselves include; is the US military patrolling the skies of the Middle East from Iraqi air bases? How many US military bases have already been built in Iraq, and how many more are under construction? Is the US military spying on other countries from bases in Iraq? Is the US military building a permanent command and control infrastructure in Iraq, which it has no intention of ever turning over to the Iraqis?
My guess is that the answer to all of these questions is, yes.