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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: On the Ground

“The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.”
-Washington Post, December 19, 2006

“In terms of whether or not, you know, the configuration of our force and who ought to be fighting where, that's going to be up to the generals.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 8, 2003

“I'm going to listen to the generals who say, Mr. President, we've got -- we need more, we need less, we've got exactly the right number. They will tell me the number.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, November 21, 2003

"Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.
But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.
The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion."
-Washington Post, December 19, 2006

“I remember sitting in the White House, looking at those generals, saying, do you have what you need in this war? Do you have what it takes? I remember going down in the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops -- as last resort -- looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them, do we have the right plan with the right troop level? And they looked me in the eye and said, yes, sir, Mr. President. Of course, I listened to our generals. That's what a President does.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, October 9, 2004

“I don't want them to come home without having achieved victory, and we've got a strategy for victory. And the commanders will make the decision. See, that's what the people want. The people don't want me making decisions based upon politics. They want me to make decisions based upon the recommendation from our generals on the ground. And that's exactly who I'll be listening to.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, November 29, 2005

“We have an objective in Iraq, and as we meet those objectives, our commanders on the ground will determine the size of the troop levels.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 19, 2005

“At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.
The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.
The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn -- then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.
Even the announcement of a time frame and mission -- such as for six months to try to secure volatile Baghdad -- could play to armed factions by allowing them to game out the new U.S. strategy, the chiefs have warned the White House.
The idea of a much larger military deployment for a longer mission is virtually off the table, at least so far, mainly for logistics reasons, say officials familiar with the debate. Any deployment of 40,000 to 50,000 would force the Pentagon to redeploy troops who were scheduled to go home.”
-Washington Post, December 19, 2006

“Maybe the problem is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff aren’t ‘on the ground’?”

“Our strategy in Iraq is, as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down. Troop levels on the ground will be decided by commanders on the ground -- not by politicians in Washington, D.C..”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, February 24, 2006

“We're making progress on all fronts. But as to how many troops we have there will depend upon the generals and their commanders saying, this is what we need to do the job, Mr. President, and that's the way it's going to be so long as I'm standing here as the Commander-in-Chief, which is two-and-a-half more years.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 25, 2006

“The reason why there are not fewer troops there, but are more -- you're right, it's gone from 135,000 to about 147,000, I think, or 140,000 something troops is because George Casey felt he needed them to help the Iraqis achieve their objective. And that's the way I will continue to conduct the war. I'll listen to generals.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, September 15, 2006

“Which way Bush is leaning remains unclear. ‘The president's keeping his cards pretty close to his vest,’ the official said, ‘and I think people may be trying to interpret questions he's asking and information he's asking for as signs that he's made up his mind.’
Robert M. Gates, who was sworn in yesterday as defense secretary, is headed for Iraq this week and is expected to play a decisive role in resolving the debate, officials said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's views are still open, according to State Department officials. The principals met again yesterday to continue discussions.”
-Washington Post, December 19, 2006

“Well I’m sure that his new Defense Secretary will straighten him out and help him come to the right decision.”

“The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its ‘mission,’ had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual ‘Soviet Military Power’ report right up to 1990.
Given that context, a decision was made to provide America’s potential enemies with the arms, money - and most importantly - the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.
That decision is coming home to roost.”
-MSNBC, August 24, 1998


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