Bush rejects draw down advice of commission

NY Times:

President Bush early today proclaimed Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki "the right guy for Iraq," and said the two had agreed to speed the turnover of security responsibility from American to Iraqi forces. But Mr. Bush dismissed an anticipated call by an independent bipartisan panel for a gradual withdrawal of troops.

"I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq," the president said during a packed joint news conference with Mr. Maliki, referring to the panel's reports that are expected next week. "We're going to stay in Iraq to get the job done as long as the government wants us there."

Mr. Bush also said he and Mr. Maliki would oppose any plan to break up the country, which is riven by sectarian violence between and among Shiites and Sunni Arabs, and Kurds. The two appeared together after a breakfast meeting that had lasted two and a half hours at the Four Seasons Hotel here.

"The prime minister made clear that splitting his country into parts, as some have suggested, is not what the Iraqi people want, and that any partition in Iraq would only lead to an increase of sectarian violence," Mr. Bush said, adding, "I agree."

The panels recommendation seems to be based on the belief that the Iraqi need some incentive to get off the mark and take responsibility. It does not seem to be based on any military judgment. Indeed all six members of the Joint Chiefs oppose an Iraq pullout. Rowan Scarborough reports:


"The chiefs are solid. They want victory," the source said. "There is no dissent."
The Joint Chiefs -- which includes Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman, along with a vice chairman and the heads of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy -- have been meeting several times a week to review a list of Iraq options for President Bush.
The Pentagon has said all options are open for consideration during the far-reaching review. But on the question of withdrawal, the issue is settled in favor of Mr. Bush's position, the source said.
At a press conference, Gen. Pace endorsed the idea of shifting more Iraqi forces into violence-wracked Baghdad, where Shi'ite and Sunni terrorists are on a killing spree to gain control of the capital. A number of lawmakers, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and House Armed Services Committee chairman, advocate sending more Iraqi battalions to the capital.
"I think that idea has a good amount of appeal for multiple reasons," Gen. Pace said. "Because Baghdad is extremely important to the Iraqi government, and their armed forces and their security forces are the proper long-term solution to that problem."
It is pretty clear that Baghdad has become the center of gravity of this conflict and increasing the force to space ratio in the city will make it more difficult for the enemy to operate. Al Qaeda's objective is still to create as much chaos as possible and get the media to amplify that noise in hopes of discouraging US support. That strategy has certainly worked on the Democrats, but not on the military which is responsible for fighting the enemy. Al Qaeda still remains a very weak force with the fighting capacity of an infestation of cockroaches. They can make a mess in a house but they cannot carry the house off. Their strategy has also made it impossible for the Sunni minority to have much participation in a solution to the problems in Iraq. In fact, the Sunnis are worse off as a result of al Qaeda's strategy. The pullout of US forces that al Qaeda says it wants would be a disaster for the Sunnis. That is one reason why Iran has joined the Democrats in calling for a US pullout.


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