Saturday, October 28, 2006

REPORT: Top U.S. Military Officer Recommends ‘We Remove All Troops From Baghdad’

President Bush has consistently said that his strategy in Iraq is dictated by military officials on the ground. Last night on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, columnist Mark Shields revealed that one of the “highest ranking men” in the military has recommended removing all U.S. troops from Baghdad. Here’s the key excerpt:

MARK SHIELDS: The highest ranking or certainly one of the highest ranking men in the United States military today has recommended that we remove all troops from Baghdad, all American troops from Baghdad…All of the troops out of Baghdad, secure the road to the airport, secure the oil fields and the borders, and say that the pacification and the maintaining of order in Baghdad is the responsibility of the Iraqis. That is the recommendation of probably one of the most — probably the most respected man in uniform today.
JIM LEHRER: You mean in uniform, serving on active duty today?
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
JIM LEHRER: So who did he make this recommendation to?
MARK SHIELDS: He made it to the civilian leadership of the United States.
If Shields’ report is true it represents an acknowledgment by the military that the conspicuous presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is actually making the situation worse. This is one of the core rationales of the American Progress plan, Strategic Redeployment.


McCain Calls For Escalation In Iraq, Wants 20,000 More Troops On The Ground. Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq. The AP reports:

Republican Sen. John McCain, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, said Friday the United States should send another 20,000 troops to Iraq.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain said increasing U.S. forces would require expanding the standing Army and Marine Corps - a step the Bush administration has resisted. […]

‘’Another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and the Marine Corps,'’ he said.
McCain’s call for escalation would exacerbate the deteriorating situation in Iraq and would only further damage U.S. national security. Here’s at least two reasons why:

1) No troops to send. “Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation’s all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security.” McCain suggests enlarging the force to send them to Iraq, an idea that is implausible to carry out over the short-term and would damage the military’s ability to recruit over the long-term.

2) The insurgency would grow more inflamed. “A more visible presence of U.S. troops risks further stoking the flames of the insurgency by feeding perceptions of long-term U.S. occupation among many Iraqis.” The recent effort to increase troop numbers in Baghdad has only increased violence. A recent poll of Iraqis indicated that support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position — now six in ten — a number sure to increase if more U.S. troops are put on the ground.
Phased withdrawal is gaining consensus as the last best option for Iraq. A growing group of experts — including the Iraq Study Group and host of conservative senators — are consolidating behind a redeployment. 63 percent of Americans believe Congress should set a timetable.

No comments: