By Mike DeVine, Legal Editor for The Minority Report and The HinzSight Report
Rooster crowing from from June 22
Accelerated troop level reductions will be announced based on success. For many moons now, this announcer of dawns has been nagged by an idea that dawned on me after Iraq’s security forces started winning battles on their own against Sunni-backed al Qaeda, Shia militias and even Iranian backed militias.We may be able to declare victory in Iraq very soon and announce accelerated withdrawals of victorious troops whose services are no longer required due to their success.I have always maintained that, while I want to maintain a major presence in Iraq, much like we did in Europe and the Pacific after WWII and Korea, it is vitally important that at some point there be an acknowledgement that we have won the Battle of Iraq and that any withdrawals be due to and seen as a result of our victory over the al Qaeda, radical terrorists, and Iran.In discussions with people that didn’t favor the war but who now want the USA to win, I found myself thinking to myself that my mantra of opposing troop reductions could and should soon yield to the most important mantra: victory.
The Bush administration is considering the withdrawal of additional combat forces from Iraq beginning in September, according to administration and military officials, raising the prospect of a far more ambitious plan than expected only months ago.Such a withdrawal would be a striking reversal from the nadir of the war in 2006 and 2007…Even as the two candidates argue over the wisdom of the war and keeping American troops there, security in Iraq has improved vastly, as has the confidence of Iraq’s government and military and police, raising the prospect of additional reductions that were barely conceivable a year ago. While officials caution that the relative calm is fragile, violence and attacks on American-led forces have dropped to the lowest levels since early 2004.”As the Iraqi security forces get stronger and get better, then we will be able to continue drawing down our troops in the future,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in Fort Lewis, Washington State, on Tuesday. “And I think that this transition of control and of responsibility, primary responsibility for security is a process that’s already well under way and based on everything that I’m hearing will be able to continue.”General David Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq, has already begun the review of security and troop levels. He and Bush promised in April that such a review would take place. Petraeus is expected to be more cautious than some policy makers in the administration and at the Pentagon might like. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing military planning, said he was more likely to recommend a smaller reduction, but still a withdrawal.One senior administration official cautioned that the president, who will have the final say, would be reluctant to endorse deep or rapid reductions if they jeopardized his goal of establishing a stable and democratic government in Baghdad.
When I wrote my June 22 forecast, questions were raised as to who, in the Presidential and congressional campaigns, would be helped. On June 22, I wrote:
the long list of accomplishments that lead inevitably to my pre-Election Day 2008 expectations: 1. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent the Iraqi army into Basra. It achieved in a few weeks what the British had failed to do in four years: take the city, drive out the Mahdi Army and seize the ports from Iranian-backed militias. 2. When Mahdi fighters rose up in support of their Basra brethren, the Iraqi army at Maliki’s direction confronted them and prevailed in every town — Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Kut, Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah — from Basra to Baghdad. 3. Without any American ground forces, the Iraqi army entered and occupied Sadr City, the Mahdi Army stronghold. 4. Maliki flew to Mosul, directing a joint Iraqi-U.S. offensive against the last redoubt of al-Qaeda, which had already been driven out of Anbar, Baghdad and Diyala provinces. 5. The Iraqi parliament enacted a de-Baathification law, a major Democratic benchmark for political reconciliation. 6. Parliament also passed the other reconciliation benchmarks — a pension law, an amnesty law, and a provincial elections and powers law. Oil revenue is being distributed to the provinces through the annual budget. 7. With Maliki having demonstrated that he would fight not just Sunni insurgents (e.g., in Mosul) but Shiite militias (e.g., the Mahdi Army), the Sunni parliamentary bloc began negotiations to join the Shiite-led government. (The final sticking point is a squabble over a sixth cabinet position.)
My June 22 article also cites a Frank Rich column that evidences fears on the left that America will be seen as having won the Iraq War before November, yet many conservative nervous nellies still ponder that victory could hurt John McCain.
When I say that “we” have won the war, I mean the United States of America, but it is the left and most of the Democratic Party that has called this Bushlied’s War. They opposed funding when they were in the minority during the stay the course years that won the trust of the Iraqis as well as the surge McCain had long called for that tipped the balance.
Obama brags that he opposed the war while in Kindergarten, I mean the Iliinois State Legislature and has opposed troop funding. The words “win” or “success” in Iraq never cross his lips.
Take heart my friends, not only will America benefit from victory, but so will those that worked to acheive it, and that is Joe Lieberman, President Bush, John McCain and most all Republicans sans Chuck Hagel.
Cockstradamus has not yet determined whn Iran will be bombed or McCain’s margin of victory. Stay tuned.
Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer columns
Legal Editor for The Minority and HinzSight Reports
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