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March 04, 2006


Ya hafta wonder, is he just getting the troops out of Iraq so he has some with which to go at Iran.

Jack Murtha's been saying the same thing for some time now, and Murtha has tons of contacts within the Pentagon. It seems plausible that for all the stay-the-course rhetoric, there will be no choice but for Bush to start pulling out if he wants to salvage his presidency.

Will they pull back to permanent bases? You bet. Will they draw down some troops? Probably. Will then McCain run on a "victory" platform of sending in MORE troops to "do the job right?" Absolutely. And when he wins (because the Dems will run Hillary) that's exactly what he'll do.

And what about the fourteen permanent bases being constructed in Iraq?

Note the rumour mentioned by Juan Cole that Jaafari went to Turkey to ask for Turkish troops to help with stability. Which is of course insane, but probably every other scenario leads to civil war.

I could see Bush/Rove doing it. With the troops home I am also not sure how much Iraqi chaos and $100 oil hurts the Republicans.
McCain/Condi can run as the anti-Bush and the big Media will love them. Joe will endorse the ticket. Landslide with coattails.

Well, okayyyy, I guess -- as long as we don't cut and run.

I'm praying that Ned will give Joe the drubbing he has comin' to him.

Nice job DemfromCT, incredibly timely post.

"We are viewed as an occupation force even though, at the moment, we are in Iraq at the invitation of the government."

Whaaa??? He means the puppet government the US has installed? Why does he think that the opinion of the "government" should have anything to do with anything?

And what's with that "at the moment" qualifier?

I honestly don't see a pullout affecting Bush's numbers among his base at all. The way I see it, the only reason they support the occupation is because Bush says they should. Once he starts saying the troops should come home, they'll agree, since their one reason for wanting them to stay will have evaporated. There are a few core values that the Bush base holds -- among them distrust of Arabs, which is what got Bush in hot water with them over the ports deal -- but for the most part these are people driven by loyalty to the leader, rather than ideology per se.

Nada yet on the major US media websites. They're still on about Pakistan, Tillman, and the Oscars.

One expects to see something by Monday morning. If not, it's bogus, or the WH is spinning at warp speed.

Reuters, though not American, is a major player. And the impact on the hawks still left of even discussing this will be amazing to watch, as they wrestle with intrusions of reality.

Tom Harkin calls for withdrawal, calling it a quagmire.

Sen. Tom Harkin said in Iowa Friday that Iraq has deteriorated into "civil war," declaring it no longer manageable by U.S. forces.

Harkin's comments make the Iowa Democrat among the first members of Congress to declare publicly that Iraq had slipped into war between Muslim factions. They come as polls show President Bush's approval at managing the situation at an all-time low.

"I'm firmly convinced now, after all this time, that it really is a civil war," Harkin said.

The senator, an opponent of the war, said the only solution to the surge of sectarian violence is to begin withdrawing U.S. forces.

Politically, in the US, if announced it takes the Iraq War off the table for November's elections. Unless the Dems have the sense to harp on "you guys mislead us into a war you lost" (snap out of it Jim!)

Then after the election--and I think our term as an Occupying power comes to an end in mid-December 2006--then we leave 30 or 40,000 troops in the castles, er, bases we're building now. For emergencies. That's defined as: When our boy (if we can find a boy) needs to kill the natives quietly, and in large numbers. I can see the WH pushing this.

jim p, they can push it but they can't win on it.

TPM linked to this Fred Kaplan piece to emphasize Barry Posen in looking at withdrawal options.

Posen's five-point plan:

First, make clear we're withdrawing most U.S. forces within 18 months. Use the time to train and organize an army and police force capable of internal security.

Second, retain—for a longer period—a small contingent of special operations forces to advise the Iraqi army and help with command, control, and intelligence.

Third, maintain an "over-the-horizon" force in the region to deter and defend against an invasion of Iraq's borders.

Fourth, let everyone know of the continuing U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf and Iraq's territorial integrity. Don't just try to persuade Iran and Syria to help out on this score; offer them inducements. For instance, drop the rhetoric about "regime change" and "spreading democracy" in exchange for their cooperation on a stable Iraq.

Fifth, aim for a stalemate in Iraq's ongoing sectarian conflict, with the ultimate hope of inducing a loose federation—each faction essentially governing itself—within a central government that does little more than divvy up oil revenue.

In context with the Brit stories, the whole piece is worth a re-read.

Totally agree. Just illustrating why'd it appeal to them. Everyone's going to know in their gut Bush blew Iraq (and Katrina, etc) even if the pundits forget all about it and only some Dems play on it. There'll still be deaths and disaster come Oct 2006. And their omni-directional incompetence and madness means everything in public life gets worse between now and November.

Personally, I've never bought the idea that we are in control of when we leave Iraq. I think Sistani and friends has the say on that.

Well, they made a mess of Afghanistan. Now the Dutch, Canadians and others are there cleaning it up as best they can. Now they will leave Iraq in a mess, and sally off to wreak havoc in Iran.

Iraq was a beautiful civilization. They have wrecked it.

(Don't get me wrong. I'm not lauding S. Hussein. Yet, at least he had the power running, the water running. And there were functioning universities, and a great museum with ancient and precious artifacts. Wrecked.)

"I'm a war president." Yeah, right.

Read Daniel Ellsburg "Secrets" both Republican and Democratic administrations lied to the world, promishing REDUCTIONS in Viet Nam and producing INCREASES in American "Troop Strength" ( the results I watched translated increased American Troop Strength into increased deaths ).

" rumour mentioned by Juan Cole that Jaafari went to Turkey to ask for Turkish troops..."
"Rumsfeld to Egypt to request Egyption troops... " are these troops to defend the long term bases the Americans are building???

We're not out of there, until we're out of there... Republicans and Democrats both lie to achieve their own hopes. Reality sets in after generations, not after months.

String of stories in UK newspapers, going back at least a half year, claiming that Britain plans to withdraw from Iraq. The alleged plan always calls for withdrawal in about a year, the leak always is based on a single source, and always with a huge backdoor that says the plan will be nixed if things change.

In the past it has seemed that these leaks came out when the Blair government felt vulnerable to domestic pressure. The earlier leaks have not been as specific as this one, but otherwise it's reminiscent.

"They will withdraw to their bases..."

In other words, they will continue to occupy Iraq from within forts either in Kurdish areas, near the Jordanian border, or supplied by air, letting the Shiites and Sunnis grind one another down until they beg for a US-approved dictator.

This is not going to come out well.

Just heard on NPR that Iraq's President has asked the US to keep its forces in Iraq as long as they're needed (whatever that means) and that he's gotten assurances from the Bush Admin to that effect. More of the "we'll step down as Iraqis step up" stuff.

The release of such a story by either govt seems pretty irresponsible to me (but then again, they are a pretty irresponsible bunch).

Rather than quietly getting some colation together to solve the problem, they are going to recreate Saigon 75.

The conspiracy theorist in me notes that Somebody clued in Bill O'Reilly on this plan in time to dull the edge of the leak.

Two aspects of the story...

1. Is it true?

way too early too tell, conflicting info, previous similar leaks, etc. But the pressure now is intense where it wasn't before (see polls).

2. what's the political effect of floating this story?

also way too early to tell, but if this gets play here, it's more harmful than helpful for the Bush Administration. He's 39-59 in the polls. He's lost the 59 and this won't play well with the 39.

It was the expectation of the zionists that Pres. Bush would breakup Iraq into at least two republics at odd with each other. This way Israel could abuse them one at a time or put them to fight with each other. The whole Sunni/Shia violence is zionists manipulated.

Anti-semitic and anti-Israel posts like the one above are not welcomed here. Nor are wild conspiracy theory (CT) posts about how the bush administration is controlled or influenced by zionists (like wolfowitz, perle, etc).

of course, the two CTs contradict each other, but what's logic to a tin-foil hatter?

I've read that 4 of the permanent bases have been completed... sort of like a mini-towns with lots of concrete, fast food, theatres, out in the desert where you can see for miles. One of them is in the middle of Anbar Province (major hot spot).

I've also read that we are sending 4 of the CA-130 gunboats to be based *permanently* in Iraq (from Florida). Besides enough rounds per minute of heavy caliber fire to level a small city, they also are bristling with high-tech snooping and reconnaisance gear. These are not subtle or elegant, but devastating assault beasts! Angels of Death. Slow-moving, but that is part of their strategy for sowing total destruction.

WHY would we need to base 4 gunboats in Iraq?

2 scenarios: cover our retreat (just like Saigon) or blow up the Iranian oilfields before full-out ground invasion with those Marines we have pulled back into Kuwait (another Shock and Awe campaign).

If we use Iraq as a base of operations to detroy the civilizations (our world civilization) on either side, Bush might look at the resultant uprorar and declare total martial law. He isn't interested in winning hearts and minds, even of his Republican base, but in history's judgement. We certainly are not going to be able to forget this madman... so somebody neds to tell him that his place in history is secure and that he can retire to his ranch and work on his Library. Please!


In the long run, doing the right thing is the smart thing to do.

People find it hard to believe, but it proves out.

Forget the tea leaves and the chatter and the expected electoral impact.

Say what's right; do what's right.

It was wrong to invade; we are making things worse; we should announce our plans to leave in 90 days, and LEAVE.

aLL citizens and all Dems should says so, quielty, often, and with conviction

good for Harkins

These stories do appear with some regularity, but partly because most astute people realize that we have to draw our troops down significantly towards the end of this year. We will probably leave some in a few bases and nearby, but bring tens of thousands home. Certainly this is what the military wants. The issues have only been timing and packaging. The wingnut base won't object because many are fundamentally "America Firsters" and the rest are Bushbots. The real question is Cheney. This has the making of a Rove/Cheney fight.

Where will the Dems be? Still talking to their consultants?

On the McCain/Rice suggestion, McCain is really vulnerable on this. The reason Shinseki told Bush we needed 300,000 troops to invade Iraq was because he was trying to dissuade Bush from doing it--we didn't have the 300,000 troops to spare. He was trying to tell Bush and Congress we just couldn't do it with the military and the commitments we had. (Not that they listened, but he has been vindicated.) "More troops" means a draft, or huge signing bonuses we can't afford--no other way to get as sufficiently competent and educated military.

Bush at 37% approval in Indiana?

This is serious! He must be breaking 30% elsewhere.

Sure. This is SUSA's 50 state poll:

California 30% 68% -38%
Vermont 30% 67% -37%
Massachusetts 29% 68% -39%
Rhode Island 25% 72% -47%

The above is mid-feb. Can't wait until the next one.

In 1972 Nixon claimed to be the "peace candidate" because his Nixon Doctrine involved withdrawing the US troops from Vietnam and letting the Vietnamese defend themselves. What are the odds that Bush will announce his version of this doctrine when we are closer to the November elections?

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