Aug 29 2007

Bush Goes All In On Iraq

Published by at 11:37 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

Things must be going very well in Iraq if Bush is ready to up the ante and go all in with Congress:

President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

The request — which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

This is not a surprise when you see what the commanders in theatre are saying:

In a forthright interview with The Post yesterday, the commanding general of the Multinational Corps-Iraq – the man who leads the day-to-day fight in support of Gen. David Petraeus – noted that, while foreign terrorists remain a threat, al Qaeda’s been wounded so deeply by the Sunni Arab shift against them that he now feels other issues take priority.
“First, I worry about Shia extremism and Iranian interference, which is increasing. In the long term, Iraqis won’t allow Iranians to take over their country – but, in the short term, I’m worried about Basra and the Port of Um Qasr.”

STILL, Odierno describes himself as a “cautious optimist,” noting that “I do see continued improvement in the Iraqi security forces, especially in the last eight or nine months – but we still need to support them. Ultimately, security here will depend upon our ability to train and develop the police.”
While the police are improving markedly in Sunni Arab and Kurdish areas and lagging among Shias, Odierno just thinks that will take time. “In Nasiriyah and Hilla, we already have good cops. In my mind, we can get there.”
Here in Baghdad, the surge has brought a halt to ethnic cleansing, and the police forces in both Sunni and Shia neighborhoods are growing in capability and confidence. But problems remain in the fault-line neighborhoods where Sunni and Shia still live intermingled.

ASKED what message he wished to send to the American people, Odierno took the time to form his response precisely: “There are millions of people in Iraq who have sacrificed in the hope that the United States will finish its work here. We should never forget that.”

We are not done, but progress has been signficant and possibly hitting point where it cannot be turned around. The world is now on notice. We are in Iraq to win. So the Democrats can stop plotting and crying for failure. And al-Qaeda will continue to lose support on the Muslim Street as its only capability now is bombing mosques, bombing markets, bombing kids and the occasional torture/murder in the street. al-Qaeda will be a rejected entity if it continues on its bloody path. The martyrs are now their Sunni and Arab enemies fighting along side us in Iraq. The enemy is al-Qaeda. This is a historic turn of events. I’ll take portion of that bet Bush is making.

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