Tuesday :: Jul 24, 2007

Petraeus Plans For 2009 Already


by Steve

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Even though Bush has told Congress to wait until mid-September and General Petraeus’ fresh update and analysis before legislating any changes in Iraq, that hasn’t stopped his administration and CENTCOM from writing their prescription now. At a time when over 60% of the public wants the troops home in 2008 and wants Congress to call the shots from now on, Bush is already planning to keep spending $10 billion a month well into his successor's first term while telling Congress to back off his war of manhood.

While Washington is mired in political debate over the future of Iraq, the American command here has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant American role for the next two years.
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.

This follows the comments of Lt. General Lynch last week, who admitted that he was planning to be in Baghdad until at least mid-2008, at which point he hoped the Iraqis could take over.

The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President Bush signaled in January when he decided to send five additional American combat brigades and other units to Iraq. That signaled a shift from the previous strategy, which emphasized transferring to Iraqis the responsibility for safeguarding their security.

So CENTCOM is admitting that the Surge was nothing more than a Bush effort to stall out the clock and pass the problem off to his successor. But in looking at the assumptions in this plan, there appears to be a major weakness. Where's the regional political effort? And no, I don't mean the foot-dragging, "Curveball"-instigated pissing contest with Iran that is going on now.

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 coalition, in partnership with the government of Iraq, employs integrated political, security, economic and diplomatic means, to help the people of Iraq achieve sustainable security by the summer of 2009,” a summary of the campaign plan states.

While our troops continue to die between now and mid-2009 policing a civil war that the Iraqis refuse to police themselves, does this plan call for regional security measures and cooperation? In fact, does this plan require the Bush Administration to do anything with Iraq and its neighbors to arrive at a regional approach?

No. But Petraeus and Crocker expect our overstretched military to maintain escalated levels through mid-2008 and to keep dying well past 2009 in the absence of a regional political effort.

Steve :: 8:01 AM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!