The NY Times, now that their dissembling and deceit has been successful, gently lets the cat out of the bag in a story this morning. Should we be leaving Iraq, either abruptly or on a planned timetable? Not so fast, writes the Times, citing "experts." Such "experts" were certainly available to the Times before the election, but now that the election is over citing them can give cover to Democrats to make the appropriate decisions, whereas before the election such citations could only aid Republicans.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 — One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.
This is the case now being argued by many Democrats, most notably Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who asserts that the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should begin within four to six months.
But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.
Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.
“The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this,” General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. “Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence.”
You see, for the Times it now matters that it puts their Chosen Ones in a delicate position, and giving them a little breathing room is, well, "fair." Senator Carl Levin is now quoted advocating a nebulous phased redeployment with restructuring of American troop responsibilities. One general had a sharp putdown for such thinking.
But some current and retired military officers say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops. In addition, they worry that some Shiite leaders would see the reduction of American troops as an opportunity to unleash their militias against the Sunnis and engage in wholesale ethnic cleansing to consolidate their control of the capital.
John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as “terribly naïve.”
"Terribly naive," just like the NY Times. Excuse me, but that first sentence in bold above, doesn't that sound an awful like what President Bush has been saying?
Here's an idea for the NY Times editorial staff. Start printing "All the news that's fit to print" instead of "All the news that fits our agenda."
11/15/06 1530: Gen. John Abizaid chimes in today in Senate testimony.
In arguing against a timetable for troop withdrawals, Abizaid told the committee that he and other U.S. commanders need flexibility in managing U.S. forces and determining how and when to pass on responsibility to Iraqi forces.
"Specific timetables limit that flexibility," the general said.
Abizaid also said he believes U.S. troop levels, now at about 141,000, should stay steady but may have to rise temporarily to train and advise Iraqi military units. No reductions are adviseable until the Iraqi security forces become more capable of dealing with the insurgency, securing Baghdad and dealing with the Shiite militia problem, he said.
"Our troop posture needs to stay where it is," for the time being, he said.
I think we now know where Mr. Bush has been getting his policies. He's been listening to the generals, and not the armchair generals.