Surge = Iran War Preparations
Here’s your latest “we need to nuke Iran” update. The military told us today that they know the Iranians are training Iraqis on how to build and use explosive devices. They said that we need to trust them, that they know this from the debriefings they have obtained from, well, from whom? The military doesn’t say where they got this information. As for who is providing this training, they are saying it is Iranian intelligence whereas before they were saying it was the Quds Force.
Major General Caldwell, if you know that this training of Iraqi militias is taking place inside Iran, they why haven’t you sealed the border between the two countries?
Perhaps because you are using many of your forces to seal off and partition Baghdad, under General Petraeus's counter-insurgency plan which now looks like a much longer term project than it was originally portrayed by Secretary Gates back in January. You'll recall that the administration's party line has been to surge all during the spring while the Iraqis meet political and reconciliation benchmarks, and that we would know by the late summer if the Iraqis were doing their part and if the surge was working.
Now it appears that Petraeus is planning on a two-step process that looks suspiciously like preparations for attacking Iran. First, he will partition and fence off Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods, ostensibly to provide security for them, while American forces round up young Iraqi men for detention. Second, Petraeus now wants to deploy five mechanized brigades and 40,000 troops south and east of Baghdad, with three of these brigades in between the city and Iran.
It isn't known what these mechanized brigades will be doing sitting there near Iran, but why would 40,000 troops in five mechanized brigades sit outside of Baghdad for the surge in Baghdad? However, if you were planning to attack Iran with those forces and were worried about the reaction from Iraq's Shiite population after such an attack, you would need to first 1) seal off the Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, and 2) detain as many young Iraqi men as possible.
To gain the time, you would need the president to run interference for you with Congress for the remainder of 2007, falsely portraying the surge as all about giving the Iraqi security forces the time to take over and its government a chance to implement reconciliation. Since you don't have the 40,000 troops, you would need to extend deployments beyond recommended time limits, send over National Guard units from here at home, and to assume that the al-Maliki government won't be toppled by its key supporters for allowing the Americans a more permanent presence in the country.
Of course, you would also have to assume that a curently evenly-split American public will support the insertion and longer-term presence of mechanized brigades outside of Baghdad and the troop extensions, whose only apparent purpose isn't the surge but to set the stage for the next war during the middle of the 2008 campaign season. And that assumes that the public doesn't support cutting the money off by the time of the 2008 defense budget debate this fall.