So, General Petraeus calls for reducing to the troop levels in Iraq by June next year by the very same amount of soldiers that he escalated it by, and that's supposed to be candid and credible? Who do they think they're kidding at the White House with this coordinated con job? Certainly not the American people who voted last November for an end to the occupation as they replaced Bush's republican majority in Congress with Democrats pledged to end the occupation. For Bush to go along with Petraeus and merely follow his recommendation to return the troop level in Iraq back to where it was when American voters made that demand for an exit would be an amazing betrayal of our citizens' demonstrated will.
Petraeus told the joint House committee in his mandated report to Congress, that, “I believe that we will be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level ... by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains we have fought so hard to achieve.”
The Petraeus plan to release 30,000 U.S. troops from Bush's unilateral deployment to Iraq by next summer is nothing more than another promise from an administration who has made breaking promises on Iraq as predictable as the appearance of a bin-Laden video before an Iraq deadline, determination, or vote. Even more despicable, it's a blatant slap in the face to any American who believed Bush and his generals earlier in the year when they insisted their escalation of their occupation was just a temporary 'surge' designed to give the Iraqi regime "breathing space" to carry out their politics.
In a transparent act of political resuscitation for his commander-in-chief's rejected Iraq mission, Petraeus characterized the utter failure of the increased deployment of troops to the center of Iraq's embattled new government in Baghdad to spark any sort of political reconciliation among the Iraqi leaders and politicians which would lead to the stability promised, as a "challenge." How quaint.
With over 3,000 Iraqis killed last month alone, and in the face of the over 800 U.S. troops who have been killed since the beginning of the cynical escalation, the question of our forces' effectiveness in achieving the goals set out by Bush as he defied the will of the majority of Congress and the American people is more than just academic. As Bush himself promised when he announced his betrayal of the will of Americans and escalated, the deployment wasn't supposed to be "open-ended."
Every report independent of the administration officials who naturally shill for their own part in the fiasco has pointed out the Iraqi government's recalcitrance in moving to resolve any of the political agreements which Bush has promised would generate a reduction of the sectarian violence which has infected every region in Iraq which doesn't have a contingent of American soldiers to defend their defended tract of land with their lives and livelihoods.
US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who testified at the same time as Petraeus, gave an evaluation of the potential for success of Bush's political promises for the Maliki regime. "A secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is, in my view, attainable," Crocker testified. "The trajectory of political, economic, and diplomat developments in Iraq is upward, although the slope of that line is not steep," he claimed.
What Crocker didn't include in his optimism was the amount of time and sacrifice of life and limb which would be required to make the political acceptance of the new Iraqi regime by the myriads of warring factions a reality. In fact, the question of how many American soldiers should be sacrificed for the dubious prospect of a "stable Iraq" is not really a proper query for the ambassador or the general. That question of the efficacy of our troops fighting and dying to effect any political goal in Iraq is the sole responsibility of those individuals in the White House and Congress who've obstructed the clear will of the majority in their decision to deploy and keep our nation's defenders bogged down in Iraq.
"We are not going to kill our way out of Iraq," Petraeus acknowledged to the congressional committee.
Yet, in effect, that is the very implication of insisting that the survival of the new Iraqi regime is dependent on the presence of our aggravating forces. There is nothing unifying, liberating, or affecting our own national security which can be achieved by continued attacks on the Iraqi population; whether there's the expectation that they're killing Iraqis who identify themselves with the 9-11 attackers Bush has let roam free in the Mountains of Afghanistan; or if the assaults into Iraqi communities are meant to be a defense against the growing Iraqi resistance to their presumptuous prop of the unpopular new authority in Baghdad.
Moreover, they have yet to adequately address their own role in arming and training the numerous elements who have splintered off from the Iraqi government police and military forces to form their own deadly militias bent on staking out their own center of power and influence, apart from the rule imposed by the U.S. assisted government behind the weight and sacrifice of our military forces. Amid the justification for continuing in Iraq because of some proliferation of weapons or combatants from Iraq's neighbors, there has be virtually no accounting from the military or the administration for the thousands of weapons they were reported to have "lost" as they ordinance was spirited away into the Iraqi communities.
The destructive U.S. military force in Iraq, which Bush has escalated into a perpetual state of chaos -- enabled by the destabilizing effect of our very presence -- is the most pernicious and dangerous influence threatening 'stability' for the new regime. All of Bush's illusions of intimidating the Iraqis into acceptance and support of his junta depend on an endless supply of American humanity in Iraq. As one congressman pointed out to the general as he was testifying, seven more U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq today, even as the general and ambassador were claiming progress. "How many more will be sacrificed in Iraq," the congressman asked Petraeus, "before we admit it's time to leave?"