"Forward, the Light Brigade!" -- Tennyson
Sen. John McCain (R) is right when he talks about the danger to our troops which would come from a short "surge" of the 20,000 or so additional soldiers Bush is reportedly considering dumping into the Iraq quagmire. "The worst of all worlds would be a small, short surge of U.S. forces," McCain complained in a CQ interview published Friday. "We tried small surges in the past and they've been ineffective because our commanders lacked the forces necessary to hold territory after it was cleared," he said.
The 155,000 soldiers already sacrificed to Bush's Iraq fiasco have succeeded in nothing more than an aggravation of the sectarian violence as they've been made to fight and die on one side of the multi-fronted civil war. Unfortunately, McCain wants to commit even more soldiers to Bush's occupation, and keep them bogged down there until they've improbably helped the new Iraqi regime cow the citizens into obedience to their increasingly unpopular rule. The main obstacle to the ambitions of McCain and others to reintroduce 'shock and awe' into the sectarian cauldron of violence in Iraq is the shortage of battle-ready soldiers available for the mix of technical and offensive missions the proponents of escalation say are needed.
CBS's David Martin reported last night that Bush's senior commanders are willing to pull together about 9,000 troops for his "surge," several brigades short of the numbers most observers say are needed to bring the millions of Iraqis to heel. The reports say that 7,000 of the additional troops will go to Baghdad to defend the embattled new regime. There are over 7 million Iraqis in Baghdad alone. It's more than ludicrous to expect that the planned token influx of reinforcements - drawn from several hot spots in the region - will be able to do anything more than help protect the disregarded lives of the hunkered-down, over-deployed, and beleaguered brigades already deployed there.
This next phase of the Iraq occupation that Bush is planning is nothing but a cynical political sacrifice of more of our soldiers as he continues his month-long Kabuki dance around the recommendations of Baker's ISG and those of his Pentagon lackeys, and around the demands of the voters who removed his legislative majority in Congress in November to effect a change in the direction of his Iraq policy. There's been a shuffle of generals and diplomats this week which the White House hopes will put a new face on their Iraq failure.
But, these are the same actors who helped lead our troops to Iraq, and they are the same lackeys who have enabled Bush to hold our soldiers there as they get picked off at a rate of 70 or so a month by the Iraqis Bush insists they're liberating. With over 3000 of our soldiers killed and over 50,000 maimed; and with 100's of thousands of Iraqis killed since the initial invasion - many Iraqi innocents killed in collateral violence by our own forces - there's little argument to be made that our soldiers are capable of effectively protecting anything.
It doesn't take a military strategist to conclude that our forces are not at all prepared for any new mission from Bush, much less for a continuation of their present murky role in Iraq. Bush is angling for more time in Iraq to forestall the certain verdict of failure which would follow our troops home. McCain wants the soldiers who are the heart and soul of our nation's defenses to throw their lives down to temporarily gain and hold a parcel of Iraqi sand for the pretenders in the new regime to lord over.
" Forward, the Light Brigade ! "
Was there a man dismayed ?
Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
"I want to be clear -- and I mean this with all sincerity -- strategy will mean more casualties and extra hardships for our brave fighting men and women, and the violence may get worse before it gets better, McCain said of his president's Iraq catastrophe. "We have to be prepared for this," he warned.
This president, and the cheerleading enablers in his republican party, need to explain what they believe is important enough for our nation's soldiers to fight and die for in Iraq which involves more than just the uncertain protection of their own lives as they wait out the political posturing of their lame-duck commander-in-chief and his lemmings in Congress. How many more will they allow to die in Iraq for Bush's "ideological struggle?" How many more will be sacrificed to continue Bush's bloody occupation? "Someone has blundered."
It's more than predictable that, in the end, Bush will ignore Congress and do what he wants in Iraq. It appears that he's decided to dig our forces deeper into the Iraqi sand. That will set the scene for a confrontation with the Democratic majority as they employ all of the newly acquired levers of power which come with the regaining of their committee chairmanships, and with their regained ability to determine which legislation advances to the floor for a vote.
Bush, McCain, and others who are pushing for a "way forward" in Iraq instead of crafting an exit, are at the fringe of American public opinion, with over 70% polled in disapproval of Bush's Iraq policy. More of the same, advocated by the same bunch who got us into this mess, will not satisfy the public demand for a change of course in Iraq. That's the plan Bush should be preparing to present to Americans; a way out of Iraq. That's the course we intend to achieve, even if we have to roll over the White House to get it.