Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Between Iraq and a hard place...

Kevin Drum ponders on this hard choice...
The Washington Post reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously oppose the idea of "surging" 15-30 thousand troops into Iraq in a last ditch effort to stabilize the country. Why? Because they think the White House is just casting around for plausible-sounding ideas and has no real plan for how to use the additional soldiers:

The Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military.

....The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

....Even the announcement of a time frame and mission -- such as for six months to try to secure volatile Baghdad -- could play to armed factions by allowing them to game out the new U.S. strategy, the chiefs have warned the White House.

If the Chiefs stand their ground, it will be very difficult for Bush to buck them. But if he gives up on the surge, what possible alternative can he offer that even remotely seems like a serious change of direction? Rock, meet hard place.

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