May 26, 2007

White House Already Planning Post-Surge Phase

The New York Times has heard that the White House has begun to structure a troop withdrawal for the middle of 2008, apparently to be used regardless of whether the current surge strategy succeeds or not. The plan envisions a significant continuing presence in Iraq to fight al-Qaeda, but an overall decrease as Iraqi Army forces take over security responsibility for Baghdad:

The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate.

It is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase runs its course.

The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar Province.

The mission would instead focus on the training of Iraqi troops and fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, while removing Americans from many of the counterinsurgency efforts inside Baghdad.

One could see this in any number of ways. The US will not remain in Baghdad forever in any instance. If the Iraqi government refuses to institute reforms, we would leave anyway. If they do reform, we would also leave. As long as we have trained enough Iraqi Army forces well enough to keep order, we could leave at any time. We're just not there yet.

Critics will see this as an admission from the White House that the recent debates over war funding have eroded their position. That's foolish; no one proposed that we would have 150,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely. Plans for a drawdown, especially in Baghdad, need to be developed now in order to maximize our gains from the surge during a transition period to Iraqi control.

In fact, this shows the long-term view of the Pentagon and most of the DC establishment. It acknowledges that our long-term enemy has to be removed from Iraq, and we need to tool our deployment there to fight the primary battle. It won't take 150,000 troops spread all over the country to fight AQI; we will need to focus on the Sunni areas of Anbar and Diyala. We have to continue to support the tribes who have allied themselves with us against the primarily foreign fighters. We can draw down significantly while focusing our attention on the insurgent hotbeds in these areas, as long as we can continue to train and support the Iraqi Army in its mission to secure the rest of Iraq.

We've had hints of this for months. Bush talked about this transition when he announced the surge strategy in January. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke about the need to remain committed to the fight against the terrorists this week, while adjusting to the improving performance of the Iraqi Army and their increasing reliability.

We cannot leave Iraq altogether and fight Islamist terrorism. They're attempting to base themselves in western Iraq, with Syrian assistance. We can't fight that by deploying to Okinawa and leaving the region to the radicals. This planning takes that reality and adapts our military approach to it. It should come as no surprise at all that the Pentagon and the White House have already begun thinking about the next phase of the war.


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Comments (35)

Posted by jpe | May 26, 2007 12:32 PM

That's foolish; no one proposed that we would have 150,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely.

Don't say that out loud! The terrorists might be listening...

Posted by sharinlite | May 26, 2007 12:50 PM

The phasing of troop withdrawal sounds like a good plan, but, how exactly does the NYTimes know for a fact that the White House has been pressured. For me, gone are the days when I would believe half of what I, I don't a word unless I can verify!

Give me names of people doing the talking, then we'll see what is!!!!

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 26, 2007 12:51 PM

Why would we have a timetable for leaving already planned when it hasn't be proven that Iraq is ready to stand on its own?

Posted by Lightwave | May 26, 2007 1:09 PM

Certainly seems to me like the NY Times is trying to take a shot at Bush here. We've seen these declarations of troop reductions before but every time they were dependent on the situation on the ground.

While I agree Ed that it's useful for the White House and Pentagon to have a transition plan into a standing Iraqi security presence, presenting the plan as "definite timetable" and an announcement that the White House is "bowing to pressure" are certainly *not* useful to Iraq nor America. We certainly don't need to be cluing in the bad guys about what are plans are before we've had a chance to implement them.

And again with the "sources".

To their credit, today's headline is the fact that the Iraqis themselves believe their country would be far worse off with the US gone.

The somewhat surprising verdict of most Iraqis was clear. For all their distaste for the American occupation, many of them fear that a pullback any time soon would lead to a violent chain reaction that would jeopardize the fitful attempts at political dialogue and risk the collapse of the Iraqi government.

“Many militias and terrorist groups are just waiting for the Americans to leave,” said Salim Abdullah, the spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni Arab group in the Parliament, who lost two brothers this year to attacks by insurgents.

Apparently it's only a surprise to the NY Times.

Posted by Carol Herman | May 26, 2007 1:11 PM

We're gonna be at this for a long time. Probably for as long as it takes the Shi'a to know there's a reason other arabs kept them locked in the basement.

Why will we be in Iraq? Through many of their future elections? They've got no peace without it. And, what we don't know is this: IS TIME RUNNING OUT FOR ABNER DINNERJACKET?

I'm pretty sure we show the hour glass for everyone. Because no one lives forever. And, in iran? Those who climbed to the top of the tree with their mullah-atrosities. Have met with lots of resistence. People can claim they're religious all they want to. But it's irrelevant, if in the homes, the burkas come off. And, the lifestyles HUNGER for the past. When the Shah was there. And, the middle-classes THRIVED. Today? No education for women. So you're given an indication that either people are unwilling to fight. Or, they "luv" their kakamamies.

How long can Abner Dinnerjacket last? Will it matter? If there's no one who can come up and fill in for him? Because the military in Iran is just a GOON SQUAD!

And, both the Saud's and Iranians; if push came to shove, couldn't last against a real army! (There's also the possibility; that behind the curtains in the UN, there's FEARS growing; that those who got attached to the graft; might not do so well in the future?)

Just in case you're looking for enemies? I don't think you're gonna see them.

It would be better to focus on PROGRESS. When you're fighting bloody wars; you're not always AT Waterloo, ya know? You move about. You can retreat. Or you can build your forts; out in the Wild West.

I think we've got something like 14 forts on the ground, now, in Iraq. And, the population movement, which doesn't seem to get discussed; PUSHED out about 50,000 palestinians. Who went to Amman. In Jordan. And, who then got "pushed out from there." So? They went to Lebanon. Up in the Northern sector. In or near Tripoli. Where they are being funded to cause havoc.

Today, Americans are cynical enough.

And, while you're watching this ring in the circus; it's the other ones that should capture some notice. Americans, for instance, are cynical enough. And, most Americans PREFER the approach that we're fighting the scum over there; while we do wish Bush would do more to CLOSE OUR BORDERS.

What can happen? I'll guess. Guiliani doesn't make it to the nomination; because he falters at being unable to comprehend the anger, now, at all the illegals. And, other riff raff ... that's been given their "diversity" ... but their neighborhoods are crap.

So, I'm not all that excited. I know things change. And, while Bush is in office it will seem as if its all going very slowly.

On the bright side of things? We're growing new Patton's and MacArthur's! YES, WE ARE! Even though the press, who can't get much information from their Green Helmeted Guys, anyway; aren't reporting what needs to be reported.

On the other hand? WW1 didn't exactly produce "instant news," either. And, when it was over? Woodrow Wilson's reputation pretty much flushed.

Can you have a war with terrorism? Is it gonna be on par with your war against drugs? Or your "just say no" program? Seems it's easier to monitor behaviors than bullshit, any day in any given week.

Oh, by the way, I don't give the Ma and Pa Kettle Show another season.

Posted by Jeffrey | May 26, 2007 2:09 PM

It's amazing to me that arch-conservatives like yourself continue to insist on lumping together the war in Iraq with the war against al-Qa'ida. You're not stupid, so why do you insist on taking such a stupid position? The U.S. will continue to be a target of al-Qa'ida terrorists regardless of what happens in Iraq, and the solution to Iraq MUST address the 3 factions that are fighting each other in what you have continued to deny is a civil war. In other words, it is not only possible, but necessary, that we leave the Iraq civil war to a political, negotiated solution and continue to pursue al-Qa'ida with a fusion of international law enforcement, and military special operations wherever intel dictates.

Posted by Andy | May 26, 2007 2:24 PM

I must confess I'm continually amazed at the level of ignorance in the media and the blogosphere in general on troop rotations.

Currently, we have well over 50% of our deployable ground forces deployed overseas. So what you may ask. Well, anything over 50% is unsustainable which is why this whole operation is called the "surge" in the first place. Even if we wanted to, we could not maintain the current force levels in Iraq past the spring of 2008 without breaking title X and calling up more Guard units, or pulling our forces out of Korea and other places to send to Iraq, or extending deployments indefinitely.

Since somewhere around 60% of the force is currently deployed, those troops will have to rotate back to the states. The ~40% of brigades currently in the states will rotate out on deployment in 2008. The difference between ~60% and ~40% is why the troop numbers WILL go down in 2008. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the hard reality of force levels.

And so I think the number quoted in the article of about 100k troops in Iraq is about right.

Hope that clears things up.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | May 26, 2007 2:46 PM

Jeffrey Carr sez:

"It's amazing to me that arch-conservatives like yourself continue to insist on lumping together the war in Iraq with the war against al-Qa'ida. You're not stupid, so why do you insist on taking such a stupid position? "

Since Clinton's Justice Department said that al Qaeda and Iraq were working together 3 years before 9/11, the two can't be separated.

Posted by Meatsss | May 26, 2007 2:47 PM

We may have to redeploy some troops to the south as the militias seem to have infiltrated the police in that area and are under the control of Sadr and or Iran.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | May 26, 2007 3:23 PM


As amazing as it is for you that I " continue to insist on lumping together the war in Iraq with the war against al-Qa'ida" - it's equally amazing that there are, seemingly intelligent people out there such as yourself, that buy in to the MSM version of a "Civil War" in Iraq. I mean really....go to the countless milblogs and such and do some homework instead of listening to Katie Couric and Tim Russert !

Look at the facts in Iraq. Look at the casualties...both civilian and U.S./Coalition troops and figure it out - that the majority of those casualties are being caused by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

I know it makes you feel a lot warmer and cozier to think that Keith Olbermann is correct in that the Sunnis are fighting the Shias in Iraq and U.S. troops are in between them ducking rounds and explosions, but if you'd take off those MSNBC glasses of yours and trace the efforts of Al Qaeda...from the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarrah all the way to the most recent Al Qaeda kidnapping of U.S. will see that not only can't we separate Al Qaeda from this War, we have to understand and educate the blind-folded (like you) to the fact that this is a war between the U.S/Coalition/Iraqi people vs. Al Qaeda.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | May 26, 2007 3:37 PM

CE: "The New York Times has heard..."

Um, it's the NYTimes, Ed, so it's pretty safe to skip everything after that. I appreciate your mental exercise in the "what ifs" of the premise, but isn't it giving that paper too much deference? Assuming one reads far enough along to get to a money quote of "...according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate," we see yet another anonymous, internal source. Any names we can attribute that quote to? And we're supposed to go back to reading the NYTimes?

More not so surprising quotes:

"The officials declined to be quoted for attribution because they were discussing internal deliberations that they expected to evolve over several months."

"[...] said one administration official who has taken part in the closed-door discussions."

"Both Mr. Bush and Secretary Gates appeared to allude to the new ideas at separate news conferences on Thursday, though they were careful not to be specific about how or when what they are terming the post-surge phase would begin."

My take home message to the "reporting" is that if the President will not make an announcement of his and the military plan WRT Iraq, then the NYTimes will. Someone has to provide a timeline for our enemies, and that paper is just doing its duty. The President is going out of his way not to provide specifics so that our enemies do not have adequate insight and months of prep time to define their own counterstrikes; however, the NYTimes will eagerly fill in the blanks, or make stuff up (we cannot know), to either aid and abet terrorists in a delicate transitional process in Iraq or to fulfill its own political agenda.

On another note, anonymous internal sources within the NYTimes legal department have reported that Arthur Sulzberger is looking for suitors to his family's newspaper empire. An internal struggle is being waged whereby "Pinch" wants to remain as CEO, but the Board is so aggrieved with the corporate direction that they are insisting he step down. In response Sulzberger has threatened to sell the press to Rupert Murdoch out of spite. The sources wouldn't come forward due to the delicate, however contentious, circumstances of this crisis.

Posted by Jeffrey | May 26, 2007 3:46 PM


Please post your "facts" - sourced appropriately, which support your view that the thousands of casualties in Iraq are from al-Qa'ida fighters, and not from the Mahdi Army and other tribal insurgency factions who are fighting coalition forces and each other.

No one of any authority supports that view. It's as ludicrous a proposal as the one that says that Iraq had anything to do with Al Qaeda pre-9/11.

Posted by MarkJ | May 26, 2007 4:29 PM

Dear Jeffrey,

Here's an important safety tip attributed to President Abraham Lincoln (another guy who fought--and won--a war despite opposition from a big chunk of the Democratic Party):

"It's better to remain silent and think yourself a fool...than to open it and remove all doubt."

To wit: "It's amazing to me that arch-conservatives...continue to insist on lumping together the war in Iraq with the war against al-Qa'ida."

Ummm, err, it's your position that's odd. Why? Because if you took the time to use a wonderful tool called Lexis-Nexis, you'd quickly discover that
Al Qaeda, by its own pronouncements, sure as hell thinks that Iraq is Frente Numero Uno in its war against cross-worshipping infidels and apostate Muslims (i.e., anybody who isn't a Wahabbist).

And, dear Jeffrey, dare I add that "cross-worshipping infidels" in Al Qaeda's playbook also includes folks like YOU...whether you like it or not). Don't believe me? Watch a few more AQI beheading videos..and then maybe it'll sink in.

Capisce, paisan?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | May 26, 2007 5:45 PM


President Bush and General Petraeus support my view and as you've seen this week regarding Congress' surrender, they are the only ones that count and would qualify, in your terms, as "authority."

I'll leave it to you to sift thru MSNBC and Reuters and the NYTimes to identify the number of Iraqi and U.S. casualties attributed to the Madr militia in the past six months.

; )

Posted by tahoblue | May 26, 2007 6:44 PM

I don't know how we can leave those hell holes without having them knocking on doors in Tijuana, Nogales or Vancouver BC. Fighting jihadists is not fighting a uniformed army that acts using international rules of conduct designed in Brussels.

To be successful, we need to follow the Crusaders rules of conduct as opposed to Geneva's. They will fight using nurseries, hospitals or schools as cover. They will fight from Mosques and Bitch about return fire.

Look at where the animals live - Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan. Sadr City, all nice places with clean streets, nice houses and a highly educated mass of terrorist prone 20yr olds.

I think we have to mobilize for a very long haul unless we want to really toss Geneva and clean out viper nests without any mercy.

Rosie O" Donnell will be ticked if we do that.

In the meantime, Pelosium has left the US for Europe with about 5 cohorts and 1 token Republican. I'd love to know if she used a military jet, complete with military servants and treated family members as well.

Now, that would be hipocracy taken to the highest levels.

Posted by Thanos | May 26, 2007 8:16 PM

The recent torture manual from the Al Qaeda torture chamber doesn't picture how to torture US troops, it demonstrates how to torture Muslims, the subject in the pictures was bearded, not clean shaven like US troops. Get a clue Jeffrey.
The IED's and car bombs, and chlorine bombs are used predominatly by AQ, not the Sadrists.
The Sadrists are responsible for some of the deaths, but the bulk belong to car bombings and AQ.

OT: Heads up Bill Warner hit with SLAPP suit to stop his stories on AQ money laundering. Report at Atlas:
I linked as well:

Posted by Carol Herman | May 26, 2007 9:02 PM

"Most Americans," aren't paying attention. But are waiting for 2008. When a new President AND A NEW TEAM, will be voted into office.

I'll venture a guess that ahead, too, we're gonna put the draft back into place; and we'll have more troops to move around. Some? Will held into africa. Others will be posted in the Mideast.

Bush, however, absolutely must be replaced by a president not terrified of speaking, make that TALKING, to the American people.

I think it's a good idea to retire this idea of an "elite" president; who shakes hands with the queen, as meaning anything. (Because I think it means very little.)

Bush won't be making the argument, by the way. Because he's lost the sale.

What's gonna replace bush?

Well, I don't think its hillary, either.

I think Americans, for the most part, want a functioning presidency. Not one under the handicaps of the lawyers.

Well? What about Iraq?

Maliki might pull it off? He's been in that area; and he's not CIA branded. (Dr. Allawi just hit another obstacle. Or so it seems, from rading IRAQ THE MODEL.)

Prbably even with a shorter span that Hillary's, I think Assad's gotta come up with a survival plan. Because he doesn't have one, right now. Nor does Nasrallah.

While the next up at bat? Turns out it's Olmert. Monday, is our Memorial Day. But it's "show time" for the Laborites. And, it's just a question of how that party gets cooked. Since their weakest candidate, A'yalon, says he won't work with Olmert.

All this stuff goes on as if Amir Peretz isn't seated in government. And, somehow Olmert "disappears."

When you keep needed Houdine acts to work out well for your survival? It turns out Houdini's dead. And, he didn't leave his secrets behind. Took his bag of tricks, he did.

While the Mideast gets so HOT in the summer; it's most likely that in Iran? "The flies die in July. Dunno who goes in August." That's a quote from WW2.

By the way, even though there's about 600 days left to Bush's term? It's possible he's hit his bottom, ya know? And, now it's gonna be the Ma and Pa Kettle Show that runs off the rails? Given that most people would rate a prostitute higher than they would a politician. It's not as if we're not expecting tricks. And, tossing mud bombs.

Posted by Terry Gain | May 26, 2007 10:32 PM


Those sucide bombs that kill dozens of innocent Iraqis in markets are the work of al Qaeda. The Mahdi army has, for the most part, stood down since the beginning of the Surge.

Sunni tribes are now fighting al Qaeda. Have you never heard of the Anbar Awakening and the ASC?

Iraq has turned into a quagmire for al Qaeda. Their tactics of killing innocents has destroyed their reputation among rational Muslims and their leadership has been decimated. They have been routed in Anbar and have taken refuge in Diyala, their last sanctuary in Iraq and you want to leave them alone when we have them on the ropes?

Al Qaeda is now advertising for suicide bomb volunteers. If they prevail over America in Iraq-which they claim is the central front in their war against America - it will be their best recruiting bonanza since they drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Why are you so intent on conceding Iraq to al Qaeda and who are your sources, Harry Reid?

I suggest you read the website Back Talk where liberal professor John Wixted frequently covers the role of al Qaeda in Iraq -and your party's denial of that role.

Posted by Conservative Democrat | May 26, 2007 10:49 PM

We either can't maintain the current troop deployment logistically, or, the gop is extremely nervous about the 08 elections with 200,000 troops on the ground and no POLITICAL SOLUTIONS being worked out by the inept Maliki government. With Talabani going to the Mayo Clinic for "weight" problems and Hakim going to Iran for chemo, a huge vacuum is being created in the Iraqi leadership. And by CHANCE Al Sadr appears in Kufa railing against the occupation. You figure it out. Keep an eye on the Mahdi Army in Basra after their leader was killed by the Brits and Iraqi forces. There will be retaliation.

Posted by Rocketman | May 27, 2007 1:44 AM

Someone correct me if I've gotten this wrong but it seems to me that while Sunni and AQ are indiscriminately bombing civilians, the Shia are targeting combat aged Sunni males.

That doesn't strike me as a civil war, just Iraqi Security forcers puttin' in some overtime.

As long as the Shia are directly targeting those combat aged males, how are US forces "between" anything?

If "innocent" Sunni males are being targeted, they can put a stop to it by turning in the not-so-innocent. If they decline to do that--war is hell.

Posted by The Yell | May 27, 2007 2:14 AM

Sounds like we need to restore the 1988 force levels.

Posted by DJ Elliott | May 27, 2007 7:18 AM

Why is a 14,000 man increase in the Iraqi Army during May not news?

At 8 weeks per bootcamp cycle that is 84,000 new troops trained per year and they are still increasing the bootcamps.

Subtract the 18,000 attrition per year and that is 66,000 growth in the IA per year ATT.

The policy is still: As they stand up...
Yet they only report our potential reductions and not the corresponding IA increases...

Posted by Bitter Pill | May 27, 2007 7:20 AM

Jeffrey, its amazing to me that arch-liberals such as yourself continue to display such depths of stupidity.

You're a drag on the bell curve, buddy.

Posted by Keemo | May 27, 2007 7:40 AM

Jeffrey, as well as the entire Democratic Party, are 100% invested in an American defeat in Iraq as well as any other area of this world that involves American soldiers. I believe that as sure as the air I breath. Why wouldn't I; a simple read through the recent quotes of hundreds of Liberal talking heads and politicians reveals this truth. Why not admit it Jeffrey? The truth is a powerful tool.

What is your opinion of the "Slow Bleed" as described by Murtha & caught on tape? What is your opinion of Reid announcing to the world that America has lost the WOT while our troops are fighting in harms way? What is your opinion of Kerry announcing to the world that our troops go into Iraqi houses in the dead of the night to rape & torture civilians for pleasure?

The list of irresponsible behavior during a time of war is too long to deny or brush off as independent acts of treason. Democrats are 100% invested in the defeat of America in the War On Terror....

Posted by Keemo | May 27, 2007 7:58 AM

I thought body counts went out with the Vietnam War. The AP is kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a fresh body count in Iraq.

How come no mention of Americans killed in Afghanistan since last Memorial Day?

The AP story leads with the number of new graves opened for dead American soldiers since Memorial Day last, but only those in Iraq. Why this slight? Are the dead in Afghanistan not worthy of respect in the eyes of the Associated Press? It is possible that this article is not about honoring the dead at all, or even about reporting the news, but just another thinly veiled editorial attack on the Bush administration? Would the Associated Press be so callous as to use American dead in this manner, as a political tool?

I’m beginning to get the impression there is nothing more important to the Associated Press in its Iraq reportage than the number of “American soldiers killed in this unpopular war.” That phrase, with a number, is typically trotted no later than graph three in AP stories. It’s as though the body count is the sole measure upon which all decisions and action must turn. There certainly has been no effort by the Associated Press, or other major news organizations on the ground in Iraq, to examine progress in anything but the most dismissive manner, with a quick revert to body count. (MM)

100% agenda driven, 100% of the time....

Posted by Rovin | May 27, 2007 9:07 AM

Meanwhile----Anti-War Groups Accused of Politicizing Memorial Day LINK

Edwards and Code Pink disgrace our nations fighting men and women who have sacraficed so much------and call it "support"?

In the same article: Blogger "Uncle Jimbo" (retired special operations MSG James Hanson) had harsh words for Edwards.

"We as a nation set aside one day to recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by so many better men than you, and you feel free to push them aside so you can grab some spotlight," he wrote in a posting on the Blackfive blog that also called Edwards a "miserable empty suit," a "girly man" and a "petty little narcissist."

In a column about the planned protests, American Legion Commander Paul Morin accused Edwards of "blatantly violat[ing] the sanctity of this most special day."

"Revolting is a kind word for it," Morin wrote. "It's as inappropriate as a political bumper sticker on an Arlington [National Cemetery] headstone."

"We Americans need to remember why Memorial Day is special," he said. "It's not about picnics or trips to the beach. It's not about making pro- or anti-war statements. It's not about supporting political candidates. It's about honor, duty and the ultimate sacrifice. It's about people who have decided that the United States is worth dying for."

I would guess that Edwards isn't looking for any of the military vote while he grasp onto the anti-war left wacko's defeatist agenda.

Posted by gaffo | May 27, 2007 10:00 AM


Ried said we lost Iraq. NOT the WOT.

try getting that through your thick skull - you've had nearly 5 yrs to do so.

Dems support the WOT - that is the war in Afghanistan - they alway have. Only difference is we (dems and us independents) saw Iraqnam was a sham bait and switch from before we even invaded illegally. Again try thining that brickhead of yours.

If you're going to slam dems/independents - at least get your "facts" straight first.

Posted by Bitter Pill | May 27, 2007 10:30 AM

gaffo, you're hilarious. Dems supporting the war on terror?

You must be a product of public school education.

Posted by Keemo | May 27, 2007 10:31 AM

The Big Gaffe-O,

Iraq is the center front in the WOT.... Even the enemy recognizes this fact and acknowledges such.

But then again, facts don't seem to be your strong suit.

Posted by Terry Gain | May 27, 2007 10:33 AM


Apply the same rule to yourself. al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan-at least not in appreciable numbers enough to have an impact. al Qaeda was driven out of Afghanistan in 2002.

They are now in Iraq and are primarily responsible for the mass killing of innocents.
One can confidently predict that if America withdraws from Iraq before the job is done al Qaeda volunteers will flock to Afghanistan in force-where they will again attempt to drive out the infidels. At that point your party would agitate for withdrawal from another "civil war".

Petraeus said two months ago that al Qaeda was being attrited at a fearsome rate. They have largely been driven from Anbar. In the months ahead they will be defeated in Diyala.

Your party has played politics with this war from the beginning but the claim that it wants to fight the WOT by leaving the country where the enemy with global reach (al Qaeda) is most active to go back to the country where the enemy (the Taliban) has only local ambitions is beyond absurd.

Posted by Rovin | May 27, 2007 10:42 AM

gaffo ,

Try getting this thru your thick skull:

You can't pick and choose which theater to fight or support the WOT. The #2 in al-queda has WRITTEN IN STONE that their fight against the US is in Iraq, but don't let these facts get in the way of your agenda.

"invaded illegally"??? There's another "gaffo" in your credibility.

Posted by Jeffrey | May 27, 2007 11:43 AM

I know that it's hard for conservatives to think it terms that aren't black and white. In fact, it's probably impossible, which is why posting anything remotely resembling informed analysis here is a complete waste of time. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal so I'll gallantly give it another go.

1. Every National Intelligence Assessment that's been released about Iraq has pointed out that there is a civil war taking place between the Sunnis, the Kurds, and the Shia.

2. Al Qa'ida in Iraq are under orders from their top leadership who operate out of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region. There isn't a single intelligence or military official who doesn't know this to be a fact, and we've had ongoing operations to hunt down and capture or kill those leaders in that region since before the Iraq invasion.

3. Al-Qa'ida's oft-stated aim is to keep us in Iraq where the civil war can continue to bleed money, lives, and resources from our country. As long as we stay in Iraq, we do what al-Qa'ida wants us to do. Further, al-Qa'ida strategy is to continue to foment chaos wherever and however they can, by inciting the different factions to fight each other, as well as fighting coalition forces.

In spite of these facts, conservative pundits and politicians will continue to lie, distort, and dumb-down the realities of the "Global War on Terror" as distinguished from the war in Iraq, melding them into a single thing, and by doing so, knowing or unknowingly aid al-Qa'ida in achieving it's goals against the U.S.

Posted by Terry Gain | May 27, 2007 12:18 PM


Your three points are fallacious.

1.Civil war. Are these the same intelligence officers who told us Iraq had WMD. This is a matter of opinion not intelligence. Where are Shia militias fighting Sunni militias? What territory does each hold? It would be more accurate to describe the killing between Shia and Sunnis as sectarian violence.The bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra by al Qaeda is largely responsible for the sectarian violence.

2. There is no proof that there are ongoing operations to kill or capture bin Laden or al Qaeda leadership in their sanctuary in Pakistan. They have been there for over 5 years and appear inaccessible to special ops.

3. al Qaeda's claim that they want America to stay in Iraq is pure propaganda. They want America to leave so they can claim a major victory and operate in Iraq without being killed by American forces and with the freedom to operate that the presence of American forces denies them.

Posted by Terry Gain | May 27, 2007 12:36 PM


This may help.

The MSM narrative- in which you place so much trust - is at least 3 months out of date.

Sunni tribes are fighting al Qaeda alongside coalition forces. This is an opportunity not to be shunned.

Posted by Keemo | May 27, 2007 2:25 PM


AQ has lost every battle where they have engaged American forces. AQ has lost hundreds of it's leadership while fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan, or hiding in Pakistan. AQ and other followers of radical Islam, have lost a minimum of 75,000 foot soldiers.

The only "goals" AQ has achieved are the attacks of 9/11 & the partnership with Democrats in America and Liberals around the globe... Nicely done Jeffrey; great choice you have made...