Answering History's Call With a Busy Signal

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Answering History's Call With a Busy Signal

A post-script to my earlier post on Bush's speech Monday at Elemendorf Air Force Base. During his remarks, Bush tried to put the best spin on a bad situation:
"The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.

"... We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence, and with a comprehensive strategy to win this war."
A linchpin of any comprehensive strategy in Iraq is maintaining order and curbing violence. Bush himself has said repeatedly that U.S. troops will leave once Iraq has an army and police force that can maintain domestic order. But if this is the standard, don't expect a pullout in the near future.

James Fallows examines the depressing situation in the new issue of Atlantic Monthly. After 2-1/2 years of U.S. occupation, this is the reality that Bush neglected to mention at yesterday's Elmendorf pep rally:
Early this year the American-led training command shifted its emphasis from simple head counts of Iraqi troops to an assessment of unit readiness based on a four-part classification scheme.

Level 1, the highest, was for "fully capable" units — those that could plan, execute, and maintain counterinsurgency operations with no help whatsoever. Last summer Pentagon officials said that three Iraqi units, out of a total of 115 police and army battalions, had reached this level.

In September the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army General George Casey, lowered that estimate to one.
One out of 115 police and army battalions?

It's so good to know that the Bush administration is "answering history's call with confidence."

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