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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 10, 2007

General Betray Us

The Dog and Pony Show has reached the Congress and it's everything I expected.

Now let me see if I got this straight. The "surge" is working and so we will be able to start withdrawing forces in the coming months without a significant impact on the "gains" that have been made.

In testimony before Congress, Bush's latest anointed leader says that we can with draw 30,000 troops by mid-July next year.

That number rings a faint bell. Oh yeah, it's the number of extra troops inserted into Iraq as part of the surge. So by the middle of next year, Gen David Petraeus says, we'll be right back where we started from.

And, and did he mention that withdrawing 30,000 troops is in keeping with the fact that the draft-less military is running short of troops -- especially given the fact rotations are being limited to 15 months.
...Extended tours are wearing the troops thin. Most Marines now deploy for seven months abroad and spend seven at home, instead of the traditional 14 months back. The Army too has dropped its customary 1-to-2 ratio and extended rotations to 15 months abroad and 12 at home.

Democrats like Congressman John Murtha and Senator Carl Levin regularly criticize Bush for running the troops ragged and cite this as an argument for withdrawal from Iraq. But the President is getting conflicting information about the strain of the extended rotations. Two days before he left on his trip to Iraq, Bush got another one of his Washington briefings, this time from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told him "that families, while strained, were able to be supported," says National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

So we're going to drop back down to the 130,000 force we had before the surge -- because we can't sustain the higher troop commitment -- and call it a withdrawal?

Sadly, I see a lot of people falling for that major piece of PR spin.

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