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Monday, September 10, 2007

What a surprise! Petraeus asks for another Friedman Unit
Posted by Jill | 6:54 AM
Just keep kicking the ball down the field another six yards -- I mean months:

The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of the American troops in Iraq be put off for six months, American officials said Sunday.

General Petraeus, whose long-awaited testimony before Congress will begin Monday, has informed President Bush that troop cuts may begin in mid-December, with the withdrawal of one of the 20 American combat brigades in Iraq, about 4,000 troops. By August, the American force in Iraq would be down to 15 combat brigades, the force level before Mr. Bush’s troop reinforcement plan.

The precise timing of such reductions, which would leave about 130,000 troops in Iraq, could vary, depending on conditions in the country. But the general has also said that it is too soon to present recommendations on reducing American forces below that level because the situation in Iraq is in flux. He has suggested that he wait until March to outline proposals on that question.

Hmmmm....pull out 4000 troops just in time for Christmas so as to allow for a nice heartwarming news segment, dutifully covered by Katie Couric, of soldiers coming home for good at Christmastime, crow about how the Republicans are the party of quick withdrawal (but "responsibly"), then wait until the presidential candidates have been all but decided to even outline proposals on any significant reduction in U.S. forces.

Doesn't it give you confidence in "the generals on the ground" that they are so sensitive to the political needs of the president that they'll schedule how they conduct a war around what gives their Commander-in-Chief the most political bang for the buck at any given time?

And someone please tell me why Democrats in Washington still can't accept that "policy" is the LAST concern of Republicans. Hell, where this war is concerned, even Thomas Friedman isn't asking for another Friedman Unit anymore. Yesterday he wrote:

Three lessons: 1) Until the power struggle between Sunnis and Shiites is resolved, you can’t establish any stable politics in southern Iraq. 2) When people want to move down a progressive path, there is no stopping them. When they don’t, there is no helping them. 3) Culture matters. The Kurdish Islam is a moderate, tolerant strain, explained Salam Bawari, head of Kurdistan’s Democracy and Human Rights Research Center. “We have a culture of pluralism,” he said. “We have 2,000 years of living together with people living around us.” Actually, there are still plenty of Arab-Kurdish disputes, but there is an ethos of tolerance here you don’t find elsewhere in Iraq.

Too bad over 3700 American kids had to die for Thomas Friedman to recognize what many of us knew before the war, despite the lessons of the confict in the former Yugoslavia.

As for Petraeus, the anticipation of whose non-report report has had pundits and politicians alike looking and sounding like so many Vladimir and Estragon clones, did anyone think that someone trusted so much by George Bush was going to be anything a political hack?

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