The new mission in Iraq: same as the old mission

Tonight, President Bush will address the American people. And then we will see the true significance of the “surge” (a temporary elevation in the number of US troops).

In effect (if not in intent), the whole exercise is a grandiose stalling tactic. By the time the additional troops come home next summer, eighteen months will have passed — and the US military will be right back where it started from:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said they protested to Bush the call from Petraeus to reduce troops to about 130,000 — the same level the United States had in Iraq before Bush ordered a temporary boost in January.

“We’ll be back to where we started from,” Pelosi said, adding she fears at least a 10-year commitment in Iraq. “There’s no change in mission,” Reid lamented.

Andrew Sullivan comments,

We have the notion that the surge has succeeded somewhat and so we will now take the military presence back to 2006 levels. That makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

Of course, it’s all worth it as long as the war in Iraq is making America more secure. But is it? — Senator John Warner asked General Petraeus that question:

Oh, shit! Did I say that out loud?!

It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Petraeus’s veracity, does it?

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