Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Surge through '08?

Congress can do what it wants -- which at this point is apparently to go ahead and approve troop financing without deadlines, since they can't overcome a presidential veto. But we probably knew more than a week ago, when this story ran, what the outcome will be.

The WashPost story was based on interviews with commanders on the ground in Iraq, and they all said the "surge" will have to go into Spring of next year before they can really assess it. Lt. Gen Raymond Odierno, day-to-day commander, said "The surge needs to go through the beginning of next year for sure," and "What I am trying to do is get until April so we can decide whether to keep it going or not."

Forget what official Washington -- people in both parties increasingly -- are saying, that September is the "drop dead" month when decisions will be made about whether to continue the surge or start drawing down troops. Those on the ground say next Spring, and I would be amazed if the Bushlet doesn't back them. Add to this the fact that tours of duty have been extended to 15 months, and 35,000 soldiers have been told they will likely be heading to Iraq -- by December! -- and I'm afraid the U.S. commitment is not going to end soon.

Can't say that I like it, but that's the way I read it.

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