He's still talking about victory in Iraq. He's even leaning toward a "surge" of troops in Baghdad that no one but the loopiest neocon ideologues is for, and that deserves its scare quotes; it would actually be yet another extension of duty tours for our courageous but vulnerable and war-weary soldiers. And not only has he rejected the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's proposal to talk with Iran and Syria; he's even ordered a Navy battle group into the Persian Gulf. Hey, Mahmoud, look how big my stick is!What with the big buildup of ships in the Persian Gulf in concert with the machinations toward beefing up the troops already in Baghdad -- 20K was the talk before and just after election day, and then it was 30K and, at last check, up to 35K; anybody want to guess a whole lot more? 50? 60? 75K?
And then it dawned on me: The new troops aren't for Baghdad but for Tehran.
Reality-based analysts have said for a while now that bombing Iran in response to their nuclear proliferation would not stop them from doing so, but rather give them the incentive to accelerate, and could very well set the entire region on fire, such that the Shias in Iraq might take a suicide charge on American troops, they who are already beleaguered and bedraggled. And how about a second wave of Iranian troops? An uprising in Riyadh?
Powell and McCaffrey did say "broken," didn't they?
Oh, and the Iranians actually have an air force and missile technology, which Iraq did not after Op Desert Storm. I wouldn't think they'd sit still, like Saadam had to, while we shocked & awed the good Iranian people, who, by the way, were quite pro-western pre-Dubya, and are quite fed up already with president Ahmadinejad.
But Dubya and Big Dick Cheney feel they can't go out this way, as abject failures possibly facing war crimes indictments, and, with the new Rumsfeld, Bob Gates, they have no other option than to do to Iran what they've done to Iraq, this in hope they can wrench any semblance of victory from Defeat's clutches.
Iraq is lost (and so is Afghanistan), nothing more to be done there. So Dubya's petulance compels him to lash out at Iran. The only question is whether a meager 50 thousand troops extra can make a difference against a second country that's far stronger than was Iraq circa 2003. The question, in case you were on Beta Centauri the last three years, is rhetorical.
And so, against everybody else's better judgement, including a unanimous JCS', Dubya does have a mission in mind for the troops, he's just not sharing it with those who have to carry it out.