No Surge, Escalation
What's wrong with this picture?
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.
This "second surge" of troops in Iraq, which is being executed by extending tours for brigades already there and by deploying more units, could boost the number of combat troops to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year. When support troops are included, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — the most ever — by the end of the year.
The efforts to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq are being carried out without the fanfare that accompanied President Bush's initial troop surge in January.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, the U.S. commander who led NATO troops into Bosnia in late 1995, when asked to comment on the analysis of deployment orders, said: "It doesn't surprise me that they're not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this."
MNNBC is reporting that Mitch McConnell just came out and said timetables ("surrender dates") are now out of the supplemental bill. Says Swopa (via email):
I hope someone tempers Mitch McConnell's celebration by telling him that at current casualty rates, 200-300 more Americans will have died by the next time the Congress has a chance to vote on ending the war. Given that he wanted a longer war, I hope he makes himself personally available to explain to the families of those 200-300 soldiers what was accomplished by their deaths. If all they accomplished was giving McConnell a chance to do a touchdown dance and gloat about lengthening a war Americans hate, I don't think those will be very pleasant conversations.
Russ Feingold seems to be one of the very few willing to shrug off the shreiking harangues about the inadequate patriotism of anyone who won't write a blank check to fund the war:
Under the President’s Iraq policies, our military has been over-burdened, our national security has been jeopardized, and thousands of Americans have been killed or injured. Despite these realities, and the support of a majority of Americans for ending the President’s open-ended mission in Iraq, congressional leaders now propose a supplemental appropriations bill that does nothing to end this disastrous war. I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history. There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.
I know it's popular to strap on ever larger codpieces and sing "See you in September" when talking about funding for the war, but it's not like we're going to sit there with joystick in hand and play Doom for the next three months. This is not an exercise in superior PR. George Bush doesn't deserve "a chance" to play Army Men, he's had a chance, and he's on the verge of suckering Democrats into a position where they're signing on to a serious escalation.