Yesterday an enterprising gaggler asked if the reason Chimpy decided to postpone announcing his “new way forward” in Iraq until after Christmas was because he planned to call for an influx of American soldiers into the chaotic country. Pony Blow, of course, poo-pooed the idea.
Q Is it possible that the President does not want to announce the deployment of thousands of more U.S. troops to Iraq before the holidays?
MR. SNOW: No, it has nothing to do with that. Cynical, but false.
Then today we learn that’s exactly what’s going on here.
As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to “double down” in the country with a substantial buildup in U.S. troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff will present their assessment to President Bush at the Pentagon today. Military officials, including some advising the chiefs, have argued that an intensified effort might be the only way to get the U.S. strategy in Iraq right and provide a chance for victory.
The approach overlaps somewhat a course promoted by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. But the Pentagon proposals add several features, including the confrontation with Sadr, a possible renewed offensive in the Sunni stronghold of Anbar province, a large Iraqi jobs program and a long-term increase in the size of the U.S. military.
Such an option would appear to satisfy Bush’s demand for a strategy focused on victory rather than disengagement from Iraq. It would disregard key recommendations and warnings of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, however, and provide little comfort for those fearful of an open-ended American commitment in the country.
Only 12 percent of Americans would support a troop increase, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.