Mr 'I listen to my generals' is currently at odds with his Joint Chiefs of Staff on the subject of troop surges. Yet, according to one senior administration official, they are not in a position to actually state outright what they think since we all know by now how much Bush abhors anyone who disagrees with him.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said military officers have not directly opposed a surge option. "I've never heard them be depicted that way to the president," the official said. "Because they ask questions about what the mission would be doesn't mean they don't support it. Those are the kinds of questions the president wants his military planners to be asking."
Is that any way to run a war? Playing games with the fragile decider who can't take it straight and has to be peppered with questions by military brass who are trying to get their point across in the least offensive way? If that is indeed what's happening, they all need to grow a backbone, sit him down and tell him that they unanimously disagree with his plans. What's more important to the Joint Chiefs? Doing what's right for the soldiers or pandering to the spoiled boy king? There are lives on the line, damnit.
Meanwhile, with all of the other words whose definitions have changed under this administration like 'winning' and 'victory' and 'mission accomplished', the phrase 'short-term' is now up for debate. Apparently, 'short-term' as it relates to increasing troops in Iraq runs anywhere from 2-8 months or longer. And the reality is that if Bush goes for a short-term surge, no one will be told exactly how long that will last because he's scared that would play into the hands of the enemies. Troops will once again be stuck in limbo as they deploy for the 'short-term' mission whose goal will be unclear because they will be faced with a replay of the larger military situation ie. 'if we leave, things will get worse'.
The cure for all of that is supposed to be increased training of Iraqi forces in the meantime. Well, they've had 3 years of training already. Does anyone believe that in 6-8 months they can be sufficiently trained, in the atmosphere of sectarian tensions, violence, and corruption, to actually secure Baghdad or Iraq? That's a fool's dream.
And now we have input from yet another group that thinks it has the solutions - The International Crisis Group:
The Iraqi government and military should not be treated as "privileged allies" because they are not partners in efforts to stem the violence but rather parties to the conflict, it says. Trying to strengthen the fragile government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not contribute to Iraq's stability, it adds. Iraq's escalating crisis cannot be resolved militarily, the report says, and can be solved only with a major political effort.
Shorter version: stage a coup.
It's clear that no one at this point has a workable solution and, as the editors at Best Guess wonder aloud, is there even an 'Iraq' left to save?
No matter what Bush does, he's doomed to fail because even if the most brilliant solution was placed in front of him, he would choose to ignore it and stubbornly go with what he thinks might brighten his leagcy - not realizing that history will never be kind to this president who lied his way into a war that he has no idea how to get out of while over 3,000 US and coalition soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have had to pay for his ignorance.
Update: According to the American Enterprise Institute, that 'short-term' surge should last from 18-24 months.