"Our numbers have increased in Vietnam because the aggression of others has increased in Vietnam. There is not, and there will not be, a mindless escalation." -- Lyndon B Johnson 1966
It looks like the Bush administration is planning on gearing up to escalate our nation's involvement in Iraq, instead of lessening it as the American people said they expected from them when they voted, and as expressed in polls taken after the election which show an even greater drop in support for Bush's continuing ideological occupation. It was reported that, even as Rumsfeld prepares his exit, the Pentagon has settled on a 'plan' for Iraq chosen from three dubious options: "Go big, go long, or go home."
The military leaders in Washington who orchestrated, promote, and execute the present plan which has our soldiers fighting and dying on one side of a multi-fronted civil war in Iraq, have settled on what we suspected was coming all along. They've combined their calculated, Faustian choices into a predictable plan to escalate the U.S. occupation. Under their plan, 20,000 to 30,000 more U.S. soldiers would be sent to Iraq. The Pentagon says it'll be for a "short period" and will be temporary, but, that's what this same bunch said at the beginning of their shock and awe, guns and roses invasion. That was three years and over 3,000 coalition soldiers' lost lives ago.
Also reportedly included in the new Pentagon plan is a ambition to keep Americans in Iraq for 5 to 10 years training Iraqis to kill each other.
There was never any intention by Bush to adopt anything from the supposedly independent, "Iraq Study Group' led by his daddy's concierge Baker. That was clear from the moment the Pentagon announced their dual review, destined to give Bush cover with counter proposals to anything the White House won't accept. Now, this Pentagon review threatens to effectively drown out the debate with their own arrogant attempt to sell more of the same as a new strategy.
The debate over the fate of our soldiers is swirling around here in the states as Bush is coming out of hiding after a self-conscious, lame-duck loser sprint through Vietnam, capped off by a face to face confirmation of a failed business deal which was to be the cornerstone of the trip. Everyone looking on could see that Bush was on the run from his own countryfolk who had soundly rejected him by stripping him of any legislative power. Very few were willing to commit anything to Bush out of fear of being pulled down with him in his political decline. The citizens of Vietnam, once ecstatic to see Bill Clinton embrace them with the sincere weight of his caring, capable hands, lined up to see Bush as a mere spectacle, letting go a few half-hearted waves in his direction as his motorcade drove by.
Here in America, the public is waiting for the Democrats to assert the control and oversight they promised in the election. Out of that accounting, they hope to see the end of the Iraq occupation. That hope was overwhelmingly expressed by a wide majority of the American people in the months leading up to the election, and in the polls taken after the Democratic victory which registered a deepening resolve against the Iraq occupation. In Congress' lame-duck republican majority, there is no visible sign of the coming tsunami of opposition to the occupation promised by House Speaker-elect Pelosi and others; only the rattling of the discarded armor the chickenhawks fashioned out of the iron grip they had on the throat of our democracy. Strange to see the brass poised to provide cover once more for the political buffoons who sent the military leaders' compatriots to their demise in a conflict of choice, not necessity.
Even though the Pentagon says the U.S. doesn't have the capacity to resolve the Iraq occupation by increasing the forces there, they will argue for an increased force anyway. The "go big" option was reportedly rejected because they decided we don't have enough troops to inject into Iraq to make it work. How would a smaller increase get the same job done?
The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon "all but rejected" a major escalation because, "there are not enough troops in the U.S. military and not enough effective Iraqi forces." They've all but admitted that our military is not prepared to dominate Iraq to the degree necessary to achieve that "victory" Bush says he wants before he agrees to let our soldiers come home.
Just another 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers offered up on the pyre of Bush's immolating occupation; that's all. Nothing to see here . . . until January. Democrats have already announced their intention to put pressure on Bush through investigations or appropriations, to force an exit from Iraq in either an immediate or 'phased' withdrawal. Both of those approaches were reportedly rejected by the Pentagon in their new assessment.
"Stay the course" is more than a religion with the generals, it's an addiction born out of the absolute power they operated under when republicans held all branches at once. Democratic intervention will need to be jarring and firm if we are to wean these military junkies off of the lifeblood of the soldiers. They blindly accepted Bush's and his republican enabler's rationale for going into Iraq and staying there; they can damn well accept the Democrat's resolve to disband the occupation forces and bring our soldiers home.