I know, I know -- you kids just couldn't get enough of AJ's eight-part series on the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group!* Well, thanks to Col. Pat Lang** (whose bio, in case you assume he's a Dirty @#$%ing Hippie, is here: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/about.html ) -- we now have a preview of what amounts to The Anti-ISG Report, which sets out the course that (all sources are now saying) the President will almost certainly follow in Iraq, instead of the ISG recommendations. The counter-proposal is that "surge" we discussed,*** and it's laid out by Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute in a 52-page Power Point presentation which includes charts, maps, and maybe ten pages of reasonably-formatted actual text. Col. Lang has the whole thing up for your perusal, here:
Despite the fact that leaks initially described the "surge" plan as the "Pentagon's" preference -- leaks which, as we noted before, Pentagon sources immediately denied -- I have yet to find any military officer who's willing to say that he thinks this is a good idea; Army Gen. Schoomaker, already compelled to call for forced deployments of reserves and national guard on an accelerated schedule, is practically in open revolt against this plan. Needless to say, that goes quintuple for intelligence people, let alone diplomats. This plan is a certified Very Bad Idea.
But it's what the President is about to do, so you might want to give it a glance.
Brief version: double the U.S. troop strength in Baghdad, then kill al-Sadr (more martyrs, anyone?) and take on his Mahdi Army, oh, yes, and the Sunni insurgents, and such other folks as may oppose us, both before, during, and after the announced "surge." Then, having "cleared" Baghdad (at whatever cost in U.S. and Iraqi lives), hold it securely to make room for some sort of Iraqi government to take over -- if not the elected one, then some different one.
Remember how the muscle guys in the group that kidnapped the Christian Peace Team members, murdering one, weren't radicalized until their families were killed at Fallujah? We're now gonna do Fallujah Writ Large, in Baghdad, where a quarter of the country lives.
The plan tilts, btw, explicitly to the Shia over the Sunni...but not just any Shia: like all neocon plans, it coincidentally favors only the pro-Iranian Shia, while, like the entire war itself, spending U.S. blood and treasure to wipe out all of Iran's enemies in Iraq, at no cost to Iran itself.**** Sadr, as the main nationalist (not aligned with Iran) Shia, has simply got to go. OTOH, the (get this!) "Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq" -- closely allied with Iran -- gets a friendly meeting with the President of the United States.
I mean, y'know. Just wow, is all.
The only officeholders who like this plan are Sens. Joe Lieberman and John McCain, and the President (and, presumably, VP Cheney). I won't speculate on their motives...except to note that it postpones their having to admit that they've been utterly, and completely, and disastrously wrong, each and every time, about, well, everything. I did note that Sens. Susan Collins and Lindsay Graham seemed unable to believe what McCain was suggesting at the press conference they all held in Iraq; particularly military man Graham, who looked like his head would explode.
No wonder TIME Magazine nearly made Iran's president, Ahmadinejad, their Person of the Year. He's gamed the United States, and taken over the ME, and while we plan to secure his military gains for him, at no cost to him, he can cheerfully hold a Holocaust-Deniers' Conference.
Amazing, in a horrifying sort of way.
No more ISG for me, I hope. Next time, maybe teh funny. I bet we could all use it. :0
93 93/93 -- AJ
* (deep breath): http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ajrose93&keyword=%22Clash+of+Civilizations%22%3F&filter=all
** His blog: http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com/
*** One wag calls this plan the "Powerless Surge," given its likelihood of leaving us powerless in Iraq. And, you know, everywhere else, what with a guaranteed broken infantry on the other side of this plan.
**** When I first ventured to suggest that's what we were doing, I could scarcely believe it myself. There may still be some in the administration who imagine that after this we'll somehow also stop Iran, but I have no idea how anyone thinks that will be possible. At the very least, it's a dizzyingly dangerous gamble: get rid of Iran's enemies, and only then see what we can do to impede a vastly more powerful Iran.