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Escalation Masquerade

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Message Ron Fullwood
Back and forth, the ascended,
Leaders hurl their followers,
Into the bloody abyss upended,
Neither of them can be bothered,

Save the ones who do the dying,
There's nothing left for the tyrants,
But to gather up more kindling,
To appease the smoldering silence - rf

One more increase of troops in Iraq and Bush should be pulled down and impeached for every one of the lies he's used to justify the occupation. For months, Bush has allowed his surrogates in the administration, and in the Pentagon, to float the notion that a substantial withdrawal of troops from Iraq is coming in the next year.

On Dec. 8, 2005, Defense Sec. Rumsfeld told reporters after closed-door meetings with republicans that he expected there could be a reduction of some 20,000 U.S. troops after the Iraqi elections being held that week. "If conditions permit, we could go below that," he said.

Yet, the 20,000 troop reduction Rumsfeld was referring to were part of a bolstered force of 166,000 which had been reinforced to coincide with the Iraqi elections. His plan to reduce the U,S. presence to below 138,000 was nothing more than a lightening of the feathered forces, fed without nuance to a public eager for an end to the politically unpopular occupation.

In early May, 2006, the Pentagon sent their first signal since the after the Iraqi elections that they wanted to reduce the forces. At least it was interpreted that way. Over 3,500 U.S. active duty soldiers stationed in Germany who were set to deploy to Iraq were reportedly held back. We'll see, but, the Army brigade from Fort Lewis, Washington, has already shipped equipment, including Stryker armored vehicles, to Iraq, ahead of the scheduled departure.

Despite the hold on the deployment, an actual drawdown has never materialized. Since March, the U.S. troop presence in Iraq has been increased by 2,000 troops from Kuwait. So, the U.S. force is hovering at about 133,000-135,000 troops.

There are no true benchmarks which would give any indication how much progress the Bush regime is making toward a U.S. exit from Iraq. Indeed, all of the signs point to a confusion of motivations from within the administration that favors the idea that our forces need to remain to defend the new authority in Iraq as it exerts its contrived power against the militarized elements which oppose it.

Yesterday, talking head and fervent supporter of invading Iraq before 9-11, Gen. Barry McCaffery was put on the MTP deck (replacing Gen. George Casey, U.S. commander in Iraq, who was likely huddled with Bush in Camp David discussing war games) to float the possibility of a U.S. force in Iraq of 50,000 troops remaining for up to 10 years to prop up the Iraqi government against the expected waves of opposition.

McCaffery, who began his propaganda by suggesting that the week's suicides at Gitmo were the equivalent of suicide bombings in Baghdad, bartered for ten more years to settle a conflict in Iraq that was initially billed by the administration as a cake-walk, with flowers.

Reflexively, the retired general straightened his political hat to declare his own prescription unrealistic. "I don't think we've got that much time." he said. So it seems to me, in the next couple years prior to Mr. Bush leaving office, it has to appear to the American people this thing is working. And therein lies the risk. Because so we've got to hurriedly transfer security arrangements to a force that's ill-equipped, the Iraqi security forces, and is yet probably inadequate to stand on their own." he reasoned.

In order to believe the need for our continued military presence in Iraq, one must put aside the rhetoric the Bush regime made in the 2004 presidential campaign about the Iraqi elections being so critical to our force levels. 'Wait for this election', we were told, 'wait for this appointment', we were told further. 'Wait for these next appointments' we were assured, and the violence will subside.

Rice and Bolton at the State Dept. frowned and cajoled the new Iraqi authority to get on with their Iraq-democracy. "Stand up and do your job." Bush told the Iraqis.

We're waiting for them to "stand up so we can stand down" we were told. Well, the DOD site claims that there are more than 263,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces. In fact, the Pentagon continually contradicts any notion of a struggling Iraqi force with weekly claims of Iraqi forces 'assuming control' and our forces relinquishing it. We've all seen the reports proudly touting the successes of the junta's fresh fighters.

It seems out of place to be introducing more forces in a supposedly secure environment. The reports of increased violence certainly painted a different picture than the Bush regime wanted to portray as they sought to convince the American public as they voted that the end of the conflict was near. Bombings and raids against 'insurgents' were billed as 'joint exercises' with the Iraqis. Later, it was asserted that the U.S. forces were mostly in a supporting role, with Iraqi forces assuming more and more of the muckraking.

Truth is, our forces haven't 'stood down' in Iraq since the invasion. It's that vulnerable junta of ours that keeps us occupying. Aside from a bevy of ambitious men, a roomful of documents that would likely fit on a CD, palaces refurbished into offices, an Interior Ministry building, and a fortified Oil Ministry, there's little of the new Iraqi Imperium that represents a nation.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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