Now he is forging ahead, stubbornly setting up the board for a long term occupation of Iraq - in spite of the fact that
a) a Democratic presidential victory is practically a done deal,Rather than deal with the reality of the situation, Gates and the loyal Bushies with stars on their shoulders and holes in their souls are charging on, and casually, banally making prognostications of "occupation for the foreseeable future" to support the inept Iraqi security forces (wasn't the man-god known as Petraeus, bearing the rank of General, in charge of training them when he finally got put in a position where he could be shot at by someone besides his own men?)
b) all of the Democratic contenders have stated unequivocally that a rapid drawdown will commence once he or she takes office.
c) we are out of troops and money for the moronic, inbred fucktard's splendid cock-up, and it will have to end soon, no matter what the war-porn lovin' chickenhawk set thinks or wants to see happen.
Gates described his vision of future American forces in Iraq as one of "strategic overwatch" where U.S. forces won't engage on a daily basis (unless it's budget deliberations time) and Iraqis will take the lead in security operations. Under that strategy, Gates said, American forces "are providing support, we are going after al Qaida, we are helping them ...protect their borders, and we are doing training and equipping missions." Gates said the transition is already underway.
"We'll have some people here, if the government of Iraq wants it, for some period of time. That could be five to 10 years. But it will not be at the levels we're at now. I don't believe that that will be necessary," said Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, during a teleconference from Baghdad. [emphasis added]
He said the support could include U.S. air power for five to 10 years, close air support for ground operations, helicopters and "an appropriate number of ground forces that go along with that." Odierno gave no figure for the ground forces, saying "that will be dictated by the situation on the ground."
He either couldn't, or wouldn't, say how long he foresees an American troop presence in Iraq, or whether the number of troops would fall below 100,000 by the end of aWol's reign of error, as he has repeatedly alluded in the past.
None of the military leaders could or would spell out specifics on how the strategy would change if and when the violence picks back up, or if the heavily infiltrated Iraqi security forces flake out and can't or won't provide security. Both of these scenarios would require the US to roll out of the wire once more to secure neighborhoods and hunt down armed militants.
The Surge™ is, out of mathematical necessity, winding down. One of the additional combat brigades has already departed, and four more are in the pipeline. By early summer the troop levels will be back to pre-Surge™ levels, or approximately 130,000 troops.
Meanwhile, Lt. General James Dubik, commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command in Iraq, got a face full of claws when he testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee that he doubted the ISF wold be able to lead operations by the end of the year, in spite of projected troop strength of nearly 600,000 troops. When he predicted that the ISF would be unable to secure their own country unassisted for a decade, a republican congressman was the one who called him out.
Dubik said no, but he couldn't say when U.S. troops could leave Iraq for good.