Sunday, June 25, 2006

A peek at Bush's secret cut and run plan

Well, shucky durn. After Republicans and their con-apparatchiki media machine pounded Democrats all week as cut and run cowards and inept at national security, General Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, outlined a troop withdrawal plan today (with a timetable!) in the NYTimes:

WASHINGTON, June 24 — The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.
According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007.
Under the plan, the first reductions would involve two combat brigades that would rotate out of Iraq in September without being replaced. Military officials do not typically characterize reductions by total troop numbers, but rather by brigades. Combat brigades, which generally have about 3,500 troops, do not make up the bulk of the 127,000-member American force in Iraq, and other kinds of units would not be pulled out as quickly.
The numbers don't jive with what the Iraqi government wants but this peek at a withdrawal plan is only a trial balloon and since when did Bush listen to generals? The following graf makes me laugh, not mockingly toward Casey or our troops, but at a specific word (with emphasis):
General Casey's briefing has remained a closely held secret, and it was described by American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity. Word of the plan comes after a week in which the American troop presence in Iraq was stridently debated in Congress, with Democratic initiatives to force troop withdrawals defeated in the Senate.
So Bush did have a secret plan. Ha! Perhaps the anonymous sources offer this plan now to counter any negative public reaction to the defeat of the Democrats' withdrawal plans in Congress since a majority of Americans think the U.S. should begin pulling out troops of Iraq.

Another curiosity. I wonder if Republicans, particularly Senator Catkiller and his amigos at VOLPAC, will revise their attack rhetoric on Kerry? Nah, Republicans don't apologize when they insult and malign Democrats, do they?

Considering the source of Casey's story, the NYTimes, a media outlet criticized by the Bush Administration and its sidekicks, I'd expect to hear disputes over the timetable and the details of the withdrawal plan until July 4th. Independence Day, a symbolic holiday, provides enough ba-sizzle for a tinhorn preznit in a flightsuit to strut his bidness in all his neocon glory. Stage-crafted dog-and-pony theater is what he's good at... showing off and playing dress-up with a smirk. Maybe Bush will repeat an encore performance on Labor Day in time for him to declare victory with more details and military pomp and circumstance to bolster Republican national security creds, complete with a photo op of Iraq's PM at his side. Such political theater could rally the base in kicking off the last campaign push before the midterm elections. That's how this administration works. It's politics all day, everyday, and so predictable.