2009: An Iraq odyssey

posted at 12:28 am on July 24, 2007 by Allahpundit

What they’re describing sounds too involved to be pro forma contingency planning but Petraeus and his team can’t seriously believe they’ll have a chance to put it into action with Republicans already itching for September to roll around so they can abandon ship. Mitch McConnell has all but promised to push Baker-Hamilton when it does, and once he heads for the lifeboats he’ll take plenty of others with him. So either they’re leaking this now for political leverage, to make it harder for Congress to withdraw as many troops as it would like after Petraeus’s progress report (“but there’s already a plan in place!”) or it’s an insurance policy to which Bush can point after they pull the plug to claim that Congress abandoned the mission before the new strategy had a chance to work (“but there was a plan in place!”).

Whatever the truth is, Baker-Hamilton is not a security plan so between that and this, something’s got to give.

The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008. “Sustainable security” is to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, according to American officials familiar with the document…

That new approach put a premium on protecting the Iraqi population in Baghdad, on the theory that improved security would provide Iraqi political leaders with the breathing space they needed to try political reconciliation.

The latest plan does not explicitly address troop levels or withdrawal schedules. It anticipates a decline in American forces as the “surge” in troops runs its course later this year or in early 2008. But it nonetheless assumes continued American involvement to train soldiers, act as partners with Iraqi forces and fight terrorist groups in Iraq, American officials said.

That last part describes the basic tenets of B-H, which makes me think that what this really is is a deal they’re offering Congress: let us continue the surge until next summer and then Baker-Hamilton goes into effect, replete with the obligatory drawdown of combat troops and shift to an advisory posture. Reid won’t go for that and McConnell probably won’t either, but unlike Reid McConnell’s got to walk a line between his hawkish base and centrist Republicans who are tired of the war. Maybe Bush figures this is the way to exploit that divide — offer Senate Republicans a timetable for (partial) withdrawal in exchange for 12 more months of support. To wit:

The plan envisions two phases. The “near-term” goal is to achieve “localized security” in Baghdad and other areas no later than June 2008. It envisions encouraging political accommodations at the local level, including with former insurgents, while pressing Iraq’s leaders to make headway on their program of national reconciliation.

The “intermediate” goal is to stitch together such local arrangements to establish a broader sense of security on a nationwide basis no later than June 2009…

The hope is that sufficient progress might be made at the local level to encourage accommodation at the national level, and vice versa. The plan also calls for efforts to encourage the rule of law, such as the establishment of secure zones in Baghdad and other cities to promote criminal trials and process detainee cases.

I.e., secure Baghdad and then try to recreate the Anbar awakening in the rest of the country at the ground level, the way they’re doing now in Diyala with that Sunni/Shia tribal agreement. The problem is, if the GOP gambles on it and the plan fails — and see the last paragraph of the piece for the prospects of that — then they’re left holding the bag next June, five months before the election and staring at an unholy recriminatory landslide. McCain may be willing to risk that but no one else will be. No one who’s up for reelection, in any case.

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I guess killing the enemy seems so extreme to our Congress. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

pat on July 24, 2007 at 12:32 AM

With everyone’s head so far up the ass of this artificial timeline, it’d be naive to think that Pentagon isn’t preparing to soften the blow for when Congress chooses to lose the war.

John from OPFOR on July 24, 2007 at 12:44 AM

I don’t think the Pentagon will roll over this time like on Vietnam, Lebanon, or Somalia without a political fight; one time I’m actually thankful there are a bunch of bureaucratic politicians there.

BTW thanks for the neat title- you do Kosovo posts in the same light?

TheEJS on July 24, 2007 at 12:55 AM

No one in office is willing to risk anything. That’s the problem. In September, it’s going to be Bake/Ham.

oakpack on July 24, 2007 at 12:55 AM

Didn’t Hillary say in the debate tonight that she plans on pulling one brigade a month out of Iraq. At 150,000 troops, it would take her 50 months to finish.

I think I like Petraeus’ plan better.

bnelson44 on July 24, 2007 at 1:05 AM

Good post. Thanks.

Spirit of 1776 on July 24, 2007 at 1:08 AM

this will never be allowed to be implimented

Defector01 on July 24, 2007 at 1:17 AM

this will never be allowed to be implimented

Defector01 on July 24, 2007 at 1:17 AM

Maybe. Maybe not. All I can tell you is that in contractor world, there are some strange openings popping up. Strange considering that people in both parties are trying their worst to make us pull out yesterday. Some of them I’m sure can be simply be chalked up to ‘proceed as SNAFU until told different.’ Others I’ve seen on the job lists however, really make me wonder what that company knows that I don’t.

Suihei Deloi on July 24, 2007 at 2:25 AM

What they’re describing sounds too involved to be pro forma contingency planning but Petraeus and his team can’t seriously believe they’ll have a chance to put it into action with Republicans already itching for September to roll around so they can abandon ship.

Ah, Mr. Pundit, sir.

This is “the plan” for “the surge”, and it is working. What did you expect to be accomplished with “the surge”?

This was the new idea, all along; push in additional US troops and squeeze the gangster thugs out of the neighborhoods, and out of the cites, and provices. Protect the civilian population, those not involved in the violence, from those gangster thugs, and encourage the local tribal leaders to form a local governing council that would work with other local tribal leaders at the national level.

In this plan for “the surge” was the understood condition that it would not happen overnight, thus the 2008-2009 dates.

The democrats in congress, however, since November have concluded that the war is lost, and the troops have to be withdrawn from the battlefield, which has resulted in the assumption that the September progress report on “the plan” for “the surge” will be ignored by the Democrats, no matter what is reported, and the Democrats will demand troop reductions.

This is not a new, new plan, this is not a “continengency plan” this is what is going on now. In contrast, it was pointed out in the NYT article that Gen. Casey’s plan (or his instructions) were to let the Iraqi Army/police take over, so we could get out of Dodge. That plan didn’t work.

rockhauler on July 24, 2007 at 2:49 AM

It’s a war of attrition. There will never be an end to the supply of fanatical jihadi’s willing to be a fly in the ointment in the Middle East no matter what we do, or where we’re doing it, as long as it’s in the Middle East.

Why the Commander-in-Chief can’t see that right now, much less 4 years ago, I do not know. El President’ Boosh has lost me for good. I don’t trust him, at all. Nor do I trust his closest advisors, the “Bush Cabal”, if you will.

A preponderance of the Iraqi leaders don’t want us there. The same stands true for a preponderance of the leader(s) of all the other Middle Eastern countries if you look at all of them closely and see them for who they truly are. The Iraqi leaders would rather take a vacation for a month than attend to the situation at hand and deftly address those most urgent matters of life & death for their countrymen, and their country. They don’t care enough and they’re too archaic and childish in their ways to come together.

Screw em, and screw the for-profit ginormously rich oil companies. Pull out, now. Then pull out of every other Middle Eastern country we’re in and let em all have it out. In the meantime, we can secure and procure our oil needs from domestic supplys and other (currently) friendly providers. When the dust settles, we can examine what’s left of the Middle East and proceed from there.

I’m way past caring about the Middle East and it’s preponderance of truly barbaric savage inhabitants. God/Allah/Whomever/Whatever Bless that fraction of Middle Eastern inhabitants who have some semblence of sincere civility and are stuck in the cross-fire.

SilverStar830 on July 24, 2007 at 3:40 AM

Don’t forget, Petraeus still has a couple trump card here. Public trust in the military is very high, and trust in politicians is very low. If he can get his message out, and deliver progress, he may get everything he asks for.

Between now and Feb ’08, there will be a lot of pressure to withdraw, but after the primaries are decided the game changes. Instead of kowtowing to their nutty base, Dems will begin the long pivot towards the center. If there is significant progress by then, their stances could moderate.

Finally, all this talk of plans nine months out is fine. If the withdrawal turns into a bloodbath, there will a worldwide call for a re-evaluation. Dems are not going to be able to ignore a bloodbath of their own making.

TallDave on July 24, 2007 at 3:44 AM

Dems are not going to be able to ignore a bloodbath of their own making.

Why not? They have ignored every other bloodbath they have caused or abetted in the last 60 years.
No longer do I know who is right and who is wrong about this latest ‘strategery’ (other than knowing that the dems are completely wrong., that’s a given). All I know for sure is that AllahPundit and most of the rest of you have managed to seriously depress me.

LegendHasIt on July 24, 2007 at 4:11 AM

Another “classified” document leaked to the New York Times. How nice of them to tell AL QAEDA what the next stage of our war plan is, after the surge.

Thanks a whole bunch, Keller, you f*cking traitor! Why don’t you publish our entire order of battle, while you’re at it? Why don’t you publish Petraeus’ personal travel schedule as well?

I don’t know if General Petraeus will get the opportunity to implement any plan for 2008. I’m hoping that the current effort will be extremely successful (as it appears to be right now). I’m hoping that the uprising against Al Qaeda will be so vast that wavering Republicans will decide that cutting and running will destroy their political future, in the light of apparent victory.

It will take leadership, starting with Bush, and going right down through the Congressional Republicans, to blunt the Traitor Party’s attempt to surrender us to Al Qaeda.

It will take serious pressure on the MSM to start telling the truth about the victory in Iraq.

Bush is going to have to play VERY, VERY hard ball and not be afraid to eviscerate any, including Republicans, who get in his way.

georgej on July 24, 2007 at 4:58 AM

Screw em, and screw the for-profit ginormously rich oil companies. Pull out, now. Then pull out of every other Middle Eastern country we’re in and let em all have it out. In the meantime, we can secure and procure our oil needs from domestic supplys and other (currently) friendly providers

And how exactly, after screwing the oil companies, and with our current political climate towards new exploration, do you plan to sort out new sources of oil?

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on July 24, 2007 at 9:34 AM

1. A divided Government cannot sustain the war in Iraq another year.
2. Loyal Democrats will never agree to success in Iraq by the 2008 elections.
3. Lawmakers wanting the best for the U.S.A. will never force defeat on the nation.

Our best hope is to expose the motives of the loyal Democrats, and convert them.

Well – that logic looks sound but the chances of success are slim.

TunaTalon on July 24, 2007 at 10:06 AM

Makes me sick, these imbicilic politicians who have to poll and focus-group what they eat for breakfast. Add to that the traitorous media, amplifying and over-emphasising useless idiots like Olber-doof and Mamma Moonbat, make it sound like riots in the streets. Recipie for complete disaster, and it’s coming towards us like a freight train.

I only wish President Bush had been more vocal and informative from the very beginning. Many of us can see what he envisions, has told us briefly from time to time, a stable society in the Middle East that won’t allow criminals like AlQeada to exist, or at least be effective. Instead, he has allowed the opposition to frame the debate, and has been running behind trying to correct the record, very pitifully I might add.

If the public had been informed of everything going on from the beginning, aside from classified and need-to-know ops of course, good bad or otherwise, I think we might have a different situation now. I daresay Iraq would probably be much farther along in that vision.

And the moonbats would be considered the moonbats they are.

We. Have. To. Win. This. To walk away now would likely being total chaos to the region, and we and the civilized world will have decades of work to try to clean it up, at an exponetial rising cost of life and property.

Sorry, felt I had to rant!

JamesLee on July 24, 2007 at 10:19 AM

The Dhimmicrats keep trying to lose and Troops on the ground in country keep on winning.

Dubya needs to address the nation in primetime with charts and graphs. We need visuals to “see” the progress we’ve made.

Tony737 on July 24, 2007 at 10:36 AM

You are right Tony,

The progress on the ground (and there is a lot of it) has to be touted from the bully pulpit loudly and constantly by the administration in order to achieve victory in this thing.

Bush has done a great disservice to our men by not doing his part to win this war on the home front.

conservnut on July 24, 2007 at 12:39 PM

Well it wasn’t prime time and there were no charts or graphs but President Bush did his best about an hour after your post.

Not to say that his best is effective.

TunaTalon on July 24, 2007 at 2:32 PM

i think it a good sign that the offensive portion of the surge is working, and perhaps even ahead of schedule. Now, more of the plan is being ‘rolled-out’ as we head into the next phases. Democrat leadership and their MSM are being awfully QUIET on this news, which is unusual.

KarmiCommunist on July 24, 2007 at 5:11 PM

Great…I wouldn’t exactly put too much stock in the JCP being “leaked” – it would be like Microsoft having a new proposed corporate mission statement released early… not really anything all that harmful. But it does get to make the NYT feel all self-important and to distort and spin with abandon.

major john on July 24, 2007 at 9:16 PM