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The American occupied territory of Iraq has dropped off the radar screen for the most part, at least as far as the mainstream media is concerned.
Wingers view this as a refusal by the "liberal" media to proclaim the "good news" about Junior's successful "surge" campaign......despite the fact that Iraqi political reconciliation is no closer to realization than before the "surge" started.
Violence is down and, more importantly, U.S. casualties are down. That IS good news. But what about the future inside Iraq? Will U.S. troops need to stay in Iraq permanently? Will Iraq be an American occupied territory, like the West Bank and Gaza are for Israel, for generations to come? And what will all this cost America?
I attended a talk today by Stephen Biddle, a first-rate military strategist who has been working with General Petraeus, about military progress in Iraq (Nora Bensahel of RAND and Lawrence Korb of CAP also spoke)...... Overall, he presented a rosier portrait than I would have, based on his recent ten day visit to Iraq, but he's a serious guy so I take him seriously - though I noticed that he concentrated almost exclusively on the local level progress and hardly mentioned Maliki or the national political level at all. Without getting in to his arguments or my reservations, I just wanted to lay out Biddle's best case scenario as he presented it: if everything goes right and if the US continues to "hit the lottery" with the spread of local ceasefires and none of a dozen different spoilers happens, then a patchwork of local ceasefires between heavily armed, mistrustful communities could possibly hold if and only if the US keeps 80,000-100,000 troops in Iraq for the next twenty to thirty years. And that's the best case scenario of one of the current strategy's smartest supporters. Man. Link
Stephen Biddle is only one person, however, apparently he's been "working with ....Petraeus", and of course, General Petraeus is not to be questioned or doubted.
So, are "80,000 to 100,000" U.S. troops inside Iraq for the next 20-30 years a good outcome for our country? Do you think this will be, like, costly?
The larger question, at least to me, is how could a mission intended to eliminate WMD's, that weren't there, a mission intended to end al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq, that never existed, a mission intended to liberate a people, who can't reconcile....simply be turned into a permanent U.S. military presence with 14 bases which will cost us trillions of tax dollars and endless decades of U.S. casualties?
How could this happen right in front of our eyes........without any upline repercussions or accountability?
Having said all that.....how can it be that one third plus one in the House of Representatives, all Republicans, can still hold America hostage to such an historic scam of bait and switch?