John Podhoretz Talks

baton twirling passing.

…Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, once the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday that he didn’t see how a troop surge would make a difference because there was a minor surge in the summer of 2006 and it didn’t quiet down Baghdad.
This puts Powell on the same page with the man with whom he supposedly clashed on the war, Donald Rumsfeld – who made clear last week as he was leaving the Pentagon how skeptical he was of committing new troops to a “combat situation.”
Powell and Rumsfeld also agree on what tactics to use if we are to win the war in Iraq: training, training, training. Let’s train the Iraqis and get out by the middle of 2007. Powell calls it the “baton pass,” though he might have just used the word “escape” and been done with it.
The problem with Powell’s likening the current “surge” idea to last summer’s surge is that Keane designed the new plan as a counterweight to what happened six months ago.
As Keane said on Sunday, “We cleared out the insurgents and the Shia death squads from the areas but never committed ourselves to phase two of the operation, which is significant, and that is to put a 24/7 force in the neighborhoods to protect the people . . . [so that] they do not go back to their bases at night.
…This is a “heavy footprint.” If we do this, we will be saying we will engage and roust the enemy and then stay put for a while. Show our presence. Make it clear to the Iraqis that we’re not bugging out.
Ironically, it’s only with this kind of time that the “train, train, train” option becomes a viable security measure for Iraq’s future – because training takes time, too.
Can it work?
That may be the wrong question.
The right question may be: Will America allow it to work?

Considering how badly the Bush administration has botched this whole thing, I’m not optimistic. The tragedy would be if W suddenly grows a pair, gets in there, hammers bad guys left and right and then BAM. Gives in to whines from the losing Iraqi factional side and/or the ‘worldwide community’, and holds everything up for ‘negotiations’. Like the general says above, you HAVE to stop them from coming home at night. (Sweet JESUS, what does it take? I’d offer to draw a pie chart but they pay guys big bucks for that already and still don’t pay attention.) We have ‘negotiations’ to thank for Shamu the Cleric Sadr alive and skulking. The Marines know how helpful hold-ups for ‘negotiations’ were in Fallujah. And all that ‘native’ participation in Afghanistan’s been a real success, too, right?
I’m as gloomy as Podhoretz, I’m afeared. I’m completely behind anything that lays a sustained case o’ cans o’ whupass on the whole slimy, murderous snakepit. To parrot Dennis Miller, “I thought we went into Iraq to be scary again?” I thought we did, too ~ “Oh thank God, we’re gonna lay a hurt on these cavedwelling assholes.” Nope. And now? If W grows a pair only for a limited engagement again?
Our troops pay the piper in vain AGAIN.
And that sickens me.

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