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CBS Sort of Gets It

CBS is starting to show a pulse. It titled its report: Bush Stays The Course On Iraq

(CBS/AP) President Bush defended an unpopular war and ordered gradual reductions in U.S. forces in Iraq in a nationally televised speech from the Oval Office on Thursday night.

“The more successful we are,” he said, “the more American troops can return home.”

Still, Mr. Bush firmly rejected calls to end the war, saying the insurgents who threaten Iraq’s future are a danger to U.S. national security. American troops must stay in the battle, Bush said, and more than 130,000 will remain after the newly ordered withdrawals are completed in July.

“The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is: return on success,” the president said.

Mr. Bush approved the recommendations of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, to withdraw five combat brigades – at least 21,500 forces – and an undetermined number of support troops by July. The reductions represented only a slight hastening of the originally scheduled end of the troop increase announced in January.

Everyone needs to keep in mind that the troops are leaving because there are no more troops to replace them. The Marines will leave first because the Marines only deploy for 7 month tours, up from 6 months. The Army upped the tour from 12 to 15 months, which is why this is lasting 15 months, not 12.

This isn’t a drawn or reflection of anything other than the reality of the current military manning levels that Rumsfeld refused to increase.


1 whig { 09.14.07 at 4:07 am }

Think of it like an investment strategy. Call it “investing for success.” Here’s how it works. When the stock goes up, you can withdraw some of the interest. When the stock goes down, you hold it no matter what because you can only sell when it goes up.

2 Bryan { 09.14.07 at 11:23 am }

That’s a great way to lose your retirement.

3 whig { 09.14.07 at 5:03 pm }

Or your army.

4 Bryan { 09.14.07 at 5:45 pm }

The question is how long it is going to take to rebuild an effective army – it’s already broken. The surge/escalation pretty much guaranteed that. The “substandard” people pulled in with standards lower than the draft are going to need to be weeded out and the middle ranks in both the enlisted and officer corps are in disparate straits.

5 whig { 09.14.07 at 7:19 pm }

Well, we can’t fix the army while it’s in Iraq, for sure.

6 Bryan { 09.14.07 at 9:50 pm }

We need a tourniquet to stop the bleeding while there is still a structure to work with.

7 whig { 09.14.07 at 11:44 pm }

That sounds like a good thing, if I had any idea how to interpret it.

8 Bryan { 09.15.07 at 12:38 am }

They need to be pulled out and stood down so they can get their non-military stuff in order to relieve that stress, then they need re-training to be an army again, instead of small clusters of people trying to stay alive in a hostile environment.

If you don’t give them an extended break, you are going to lose the people you need and get stuck with the crazies, the violence junkies. These people have been on an adrenalin overdose for more than a year and burns out the body and the mind. They need “normalization” so they can be re-trained to reality, because a war zone is not reality.

The institution needs the time to throughly debrief the troops coming back to find out what worked and what didn’t, including all of the little things like uniforms and personal equipment, as well as the vehicles and weapons.

They need to fix the payroll system and equipment management, because things have not been working, because those are the small irritants that become big problems.

These guys were thrust into a situation for which they had no real training, and then used as “beta testers” for all kinds of crap. They changed the damn uniform in the middle of a war – you don’t do that as it leads to friendly fire problems.

This was a mess on every level.

9 whig { 09.15.07 at 4:47 am }

Hard enough to rehabilitate people into ordinary society when they have been trained as killers. We’re going to need a lot of PTSD treatment.