David "Judy Miller in drag" Sanger is at it again, with a finely crafted bit of stenography in the NY Times today which says the Bush administration are drawing up plans to reduce troops in Iraq next year by up to half.
Which, as both Glenn Greenwald and Big Tent Democrat point out, is not the first time we've heard such empty promises for political purposes - and therefore are as believable now as they've ever been.
Prairie Weather catches the real news in the story, sourced as it is from leaks by "senior administration officials". The actual plan is to stay in Iraq forever. Here's the key graph of "Judy" Sanger's whole article:
The officials cautioned that no firm plans have emerged from the discussions. But they said the proposals being developed envision a far smaller but long-term American presence, centering on three or four large bases around Iraq. Mr. Bush has told recent visitors to the White House that he was seeking a model similar to the American presence in South Korea.Let's be clear about that, shall we - Bush's plan is for more than a dozen huge bases and a constant presence numbering in the tens of thousands over more than three decades. Which is what quite a few people have been saying was Bush's real plan all along.
Sanger writes that Dick Cheney may not go along with the plan, because even a partial withdrawal might embolden Al Qaeda, thus proving that his sources are from the Cheney camp. There's no way on earth Cheney would disagree with a plan to keep the US in Iraq forever - this is pure disininformation, a red herring. Captain Ed, a sure touchstone of the neocon war-hawk temper, shows why:
We cannot leave Iraq altogether and fight Islamist terrorism. They're attempting to base themselves in western Iraq, with Syrian assistance. We can't fight that by deploying to Okinawa and leaving the region to the radicals. This planning takes that reality and adapts our military approach to it. It should come as no surprise at all that the Pentagon and the White House have already begun thinking about the next phase of the war.The differences between Iraq and South Korea being, mostly, that the Iraqis are still likely to be using those American super-bases for target practise decades from now, ratcheting up the casualties a few at a time, and that the bases in Iraq will be a provocation destined to create more Islamist terrorists by their very existence than their occupants will ever manage to kill.
The Bush Plan B - war forever. It was actually Plan A all along and the Democrats just handed him a blank check for it.
Update Time for more KremlinWatch D.C. as Bill Kristol, one of Cheney's staff of outreach Wormtongues, puts the inevitable next-day spin on the story.
"The president apparently was furious about the New York Times article Saturday. One senior White House official went out of his way to call me Saturday and left me a voicemail saying that. So, since they don’t normally do that on Saturdays, I think maybe it’s even true."When a liar insists something may be true, check you still have your wallet.
Kristol also told Fox News that it is "irresponsible for people in the State Department, the Defense Department or the White House to be leaking this stuff which they have no idea whether it’s practical."
Nice move, blaming the leak on the "enemy" faction inside the administration. If it really had been that faction, they wouldn't have mentioned Bush plans for a South Korean style of permanent basing. Kristol says the troop reduction part is rubbish, which leaves just the permanent bases. It has Cheney written all over it.