THE BLOG
09/11/2007 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The 30,000 Troop Promise

by Taylor Marsh

The military is at war about the war. Bush is trying to keep the lid on and General Petraeus is helping him do it.

Another new arrival in the West Wing set up a rapid-response PR unit hard-wired into Petraeus's shop. Ed Gillespie, the new presidential counselor, organized daily conference calls at 7:45 a.m. and again late in the afternoon between the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the U.S. Embassy and military in Baghdad to map out ways of selling the surge. ... ..

Among Top Officials, 'Surge' Has Sparked Dissent, Infighting

Congress and the American people are being sold a decidedly unpresidential bill of goods. There have been reports of Admiral Fallon's disagreement with General Petraeus. It's a harder line than we're being told. Unfortunately, we won't be privy to the truth until we're in the midst of the '08 elections.

But it's questionable whether even the smoothest-talking salesman could appease public opinion--or Petraeus's Pentagon detractors--at this point. NEWSWEEK has learned that a separate internal report being prepared by a Pentagon working group will "differ substantially" from Petraeus's recommendations, according to an official who is privy to the ongoing discussions but would speak about them only on condition of anonymity. An early version of the report, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be completed by the beginning of next year, will "recommend a very rapid reduction in American forces: as much as two-thirds of the existing force very quickly, while keeping the remainder there." The strategy will involve unwinding the still large U.S. presence in big forward operation bases and putting smaller teams in outposts. "There is interest at senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternative views" to Petraeus, the official said. Among others, Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon is known to want to draw down faster than Petraeus.

(snip)

John Arquilla, an intelligence and counterinsurgency expert at the Naval Postgraduate School, is even harsher in his assessment of Petraeus. "I think Colin Powell used dodgy information to get us into the war, and Petraeus is using dodgy information to keep us there," he said. ... ..

The General as Salesman

Admiral Fallon wants a quicker redeployment, a more immediate response to the debacle in which we're entrenched.

Today General Petraeus said "I don't know" to Senator Warner's question, Is the Iraq war making the U.S. safer?

Now we're hearing "breaking news" from the AP that Bush will announce a reduction of 30,000 troops.

But if you look at this archived article you'll notice something very interesting. It's deja vu all over again.

Circa April 2006:

Officials: U.S. hopes to pull 30,000 troops Rumsfeld, Rice visit Iraq, encourage formation of government

Wednesday, April 26, 2006; Posted: 8:50 p.m. EDT (00:50 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has tentative plans to reduce U.S. troops levels in Iraq by about 30,000 by the end of the year, senior military officials said Wednesday.

The fact that Mr. Bush and General Petraeus are talking about drawing down 30,000 troops is an insult to our intelligence. Those troops were always planned to be pulled, otherwise our Army and Marines would collapse. Not a very impressive tactic when you think about it, especially considering the costs, human and economic. But the general is tasked with one job: keeping us in Iraq until the Republicans hand off the presidency to the Democrats. They intend on blaming us for Bush's war. It's been the plan all along.