Supposedly the Baker Commission’s going to recommend a four-point strategy devised mainly by its Pentagon advisors:
· Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq
· Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
· Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others
· Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces
Iran may or may not figure into point two; democracy — or, in the words of the turd who leaked this to the Guardian, “the democracy crap” — may or may not figure into point three; and the Kucinich plan may or may not figure into point four.
Iraqis themselves aren’t any more united about what to do than we are. The Shiites want a pullout so they can go about massacring Sunnis; the Sunnis want more troops so that they don’t end up being massacred. Darkly funny:
He paused as two helicopters thundered overhead. The beer was running out, he said, a problem he blamed on the Americans. All the alcohol sellers in his area, Mansour, have been killed, and most shops are now closed.
“Who’s responsible for that? Rumsfeld,” he said. “He should send us some beer.”
The Guardian’s source expects that if things don’t look better within six months of the new deployments, the pressure on Bush — including from Republicans worried about the party’s prospects in ’08 — will be so intense that he’ll have no choice but to withdraw. To which I say, what prospects in ’08? If he doubles down and craps out, we’re done. He’s betting everything here; whether it’s because he believes that fervently in the cause or simply because he can’t bear to lose face is almost beside the point.
And of course, he’s not the only one who’ll be making a last big push. If I were in charge of AQ and feeling “reinvigorated,” I’d target those 20,000 new troops with everything I have. I’d even reassign resources I was saving for attacks on the west if it’d help. Nothing would strengthen the anti-war crowd’s hand like a mass slaughter of people who wouldn’t have been there had Bush listened to the Democrats. One spectacular attack, especially if it involved WMD, would purchase years of American isolationism.
For his part, Abizaid doesn’t want a great many more troops. He doesn’t want any less, either.
Update: Expect the Dems to grudgingly support this, too, if only because there’s little downside. They’ve got Zinni, Batiste, and now Abizaid saying that a withdrawal anytime soon would mean disaster. That gives them all the political cover they need to sign off on Bush’s plan. After all, by chickenhawk logic, the military judgments of uniformed personnel are practically infallible vis-a-vis civilians.