I've been having a rather brutal week so I didn't get to this yesterday but this strikes me as worth noting. Newsweek did a piece on our new DefSec Gates, remarking that his low key public profile belies the power he wields behind the scenes. Somewhat encouraging is his position on Iran. However his Iraq strategy is more than a little disturbing.
To scant notice in recent weeks, Gates seems to have scored a significant victory in the Bush administration’s internal fight over troop withdrawals from Iraq, and he has been perhaps the key player in quelling moves toward a military confrontation with Iran. [...]
...The stakes, as laid out before the president, ran as follows: if the United States maintains troop levels at pre-surge levels or above into the next presidency—the possibility that Petraeus was leaving open—it will create enormous public pressure for Bush’s successor to pull out quickly, especially if she is a Democrat. On the other hand, if the Bush administration can manage to reduce troop levels to a more sustainable level over the long term—just under 100,000 by the end of 2008—then the next president, Democrat or Republican, will be better able to continue that policy, thus securing Bush’s legacy in the end. ...
Got that? Troop deployments and any possible withdrawal or redeployment plan is not based on our national security or strategic concerns in the Middle East. They're playing politics with our troops lives to secure Bush's legacy.
These people should rot in hell or they should be immediately deployed to the war front, which is pretty much the same thing. One might suppose that after a month or so on EFP patrol they might not think the cursed legacy is so bloody important after all.