While bantering with someone for whom I have great respect, who also happens to be much smarter than I am, I began to think of the consequences of what happened in Washington, D.C. last week.
We were just treated to one of the great pasttimes of our nation's capital; I mean of course political theater. Useless, time wasting and uninteresting statements by senators whose positions on the Iraq War have not, and will not, change, no matter who sits in front of them.
The hearing was filled with pre-approved statements by a general and an ambassador, with hardly a surprise comma, let alone a statement in them. At the end of the two days we know the following, no more soldiers are coming out of Iraq until this summer and probably until this president leaves office. We know that the president curtailed the tour lengths of soldiers from 15 months to 12.
BUT NOT FOR THOSE SERVING IN IRAQ NOW! NOTHING CHANGED, IS WHAT WE LEARNED.
It must be said again and again, the military aspects of the “surge” worked. Al Qaeda in Al Anbar was defeated. Less soldiers died and less Iraq civilians died. There has been some progress in Iraq government, some laws have finally been passed but not implemented, police and military are beginning to get better, the police less , but not nearly enough. Americans are still dying at an alarming rate, 19 since last Sunday. We just witnessed a short unsuccessful fight in Basra, this time Iraq Government Forces (Shia) against Sadr’s Militia all Shia. The fighting stopped and as I said last week, it stopped because Iran stepped in and helped make the peace; that would be IRAN, not the United States of America or Iraq.
So, what does all the political talk by the“Iraq Leadership Team” that briefed Congress combined with speeches given by Clinton, McCain and Obama on Iraq mean? It means TWO MORE YEARS, in Iraq, at least. If we pulled out now, which we should not, that is all Americans out of Iraq, all soldiers, contractors, spies, diplomats, every body out; it would take about a year. If you stay through January '09 — which we are, because the president has said we are — then it will take about 22 months, again if we say everybody out.
If you just play around, delay, have bad day or two you will add days, weeks and months to this two year window. Moving people and gear around, closing bases, turning over areas of responsibility to the Iraq government takes time. While this is going on, the enemy does not stop, they still plan, they still blow things up, they still fight. This all means more Americans will die and many more will lose body parts and families will be devastated. Moreover, the Army and Marine Corps will approach the do not pass go line of being broken; they are close to that line right now.
So when you hear those wanting to talk to the president about what they are planning for Iraq, remember that right now it will be two years before we come out, if we decide to do it at all. Right now we are going to see two more years of death and frustration in Iraq, if we do not change they way we fight and deal with Iraq. If we do not change how we are doing things, like not dealing with Iran and the rest of the region, what we are doing in Iraq may not matter anyway.
Right now Iran has become the real super power in the Middle East, destabilizing Palestine, through Hamas, causing real trouble in Lebanon through Hezbollah and flat out killing Americans and destabilizing Iraq through the use of its Kuds Force and other sinister organizations.
When it comes to Iraq, how about we demand that the three amigos running for the highest office in the land, start their conversations with the American people, on Iraq with, at the end of two years then maybe we can really get at a success in Iraq, but not a success for the United States of America the success has to be for Iraq.
Now that will be an interesting bit of political conversation indeed. My bet is that we will never hear it. What we will see is the death toll continue to rise and more soldiers will come home with broken bodies, while those running for office continue to make speeches.
I wonder if the rest of us are even noticing?
Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.