Friday, March 10, 2006

The mystery of Rummy

Arrogant? Deceptive? Delusional? Advancing dementia? Or maybe just clueless?

From U.S. Sets Plans to Aid Iraq in Civil War: Security Forces Would Bear Brunt by Ann Scott Tyson Washington Post 03/10/06:

The U.S. military will rely primarily on Iraq's security forces to put down a civil war in that country if one breaks out, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told lawmakers yesterday.

Sectarian violence in Iraq has reached a level unprecedented since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and is now eclipsing the insurgency as the chief security threat there, said Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, who appeared with Rumsfeld.

"The plan is to prevent a civil war, and to the extent one were to occur, to have the ... Iraqi security forces deal with it to the extent they're able to," Rumsfeld told the Senate Appropriations Committee when pressed to explain how the United States intended to respond should Iraq descend wholesale into internecine strife.

If civil war becomes reality, "it's very clear that the Iraqi forces will handle it, but they'll handle it with our help," Abizaid said later when asked to elaborate on Rumsfeld's remark.
This was so bizarre that even a few Democrats were moved to express their skepticism.

For example:

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) repeatedly asked Rumsfeld whether 2006 will be a year of transition to Iraqi security forces, allowing the withdrawal of significant numbers of U.S. troops by the end of the year. Rumsfeld declined to discuss troop levels, saying it would be "ill-advised for me to make a prediction," but he said that Iraqi security forces are "doing a good job" and that Iraqi leaders are taking responsibility for conflict in the country.

"Proof positive the Iraqi security forces are as good as you say is when American troops can come home," Durbin responded. "That's proof positive. Every year we hear about growing numbers and growing capabilities, and yet ... our best and bravest are still there in danger today."

Other Democrats called "unrealistic" Rumsfeld's decision to rely primarily on Iraqi security forces in an outbreak of civil war. "The real issue here is, where will those security forces place their loyalties, and will we be caught in the middle of a situation in which it's unclear to us who the enemy is," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said after a closed Senate briefing on Iraq operations by Abizaid and Rumsfeld after the public session. (my emphasis)
Give Durbin a little credit. Still, it's a sign of how jumpy the Democrats are about being criticized for not "supporting the troops" - which the Reps are going to accuse them of no matter what they say - that Durbin felt he had to use a flowery term like "our best and our bravest" instead of just saying we still have the same number of soldiers there we had a year ago.

Steve Gilliard's grim and succinct comment: "I am positive that the Iraqi Army will deal with the civil war. Only problem? The number of US advisors who will die when their units take sides."

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