Sunday, September 02, 2007

Send lawyers, guns and money...

By Libby

In his latest attempt to build support for continuing the occupation of Iraq, Bush has approved a new surge of payola to the Sunni insurgents who have decided to cash in on the "awakening," for the time being. Wiser minds than mine have explored the tactical and practical shortcomings of this approach, (read anything by Cernig or Fester), but I want to focus on a couple of the other points made in the article.
The money would come, the official said, by spending State Department funds through provincial reconstruction teams, which are finally being deployed in significant numbers. Some would come from American military commanders, who have emergency funds at their disposal, and some from a Department of Defense program to generate jobs by revitalizing state-owned industries — a reversal of the privatization effort begun by American forces four years ago.

I've always thought it was clear that a lot of what drove the invasion and the subsequent occupation was corporate interest in exploiting the new market the "cakewalk" in Iraq would provide. Months before the tanks rolled into Baghdad, certain US legal firms had already established a presence and were offering services towards setting up shops in the country. I take this reversal to mean that corporate interest is waning as it becomes apparent that Iraq will not have a viable business climate anytime in the near future. Certainly, not as long as we remain in occupation. Moving on...
Officials were cautious about discussing Friday’s Pentagon meeting. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were said to have used it to hear a variety of viewpoints, officials said, including lengthy descriptions from the Joint Chiefs about how the increase in forces is unsustainable beyond spring without extending the tours of forces already in Iraq. Several aides to Mr. Bush have said in recent weeks that such extensions are so politically unpalatable that they are not under consideration unless an emergency breaks out requiring the use of American forces elsewhere in the world.

For instance a massive conflict with Iran? Wouldn't that kill two birds with one stone? Cheney would get his forever war and Bush would have a good excuse to further exhaust the troops for this newly created crisis. And there's no mistaking the troops are exhausted and will have to drawn down in the spring. Some counsel that withdrawal be started earlier.
By beginning a drawdown slightly earlier, the officials say, Mr. Bush would both maximize his flexibility and avoid having to stick to a strict timeline for withdrawal, which the president has said in the past would signal to enemy forces exactly when and how quickly American forces would begin to leave.

That's assuming he would ever admit defeat and leave voluntarily, which I doubt, but this has always seemed to me to one of the silliest arguments against a date certain for withdrawal. It's not like the troops can just back their bags and hop the next plane out of Baghdad. It will takes years to move everything out, just as it took years to move it all in there. I have a feeling "the enemy," however you define them, are going to notice -- whether we announce it or not.

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