Surge and Purge: The Bush Strategy for Iraq
While President Bush has declared that he "won't be rushed" into unveiling his new strategy for Iraq, the outlines are already clear. The twin pillars of the coming Bush approach appear to be a "surge" in U.S. force levels combined with the sacking of the generals opposed to it.
Call it "Surge and Purge."
Rumors of a "surge" in American forces to secure Baghdad, featuring perhaps as many as 50,000 troops, have been swirling for days. But now the AP is reporting that President Bush and new Defense Secretary Robert Gates are targeting among others Army Generals John Abizaid and George Casey for replacement.
The purge of Abizaid (currently CENTCOMM commander) and Casey, the top general in Iraq, come as no surprise. After all, both oppose deploying new troops to Iraq, given both the lack of a political strategy for victory and the overwhelming strain on the American military.
Accelerating the overdue retirement of Abizaid and the departure of Casey may help Bush and Gates make their case for building up and drawing down in Iraq, but the Joint Chiefs are another matter. Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker bluntly stated that the American force "will break," adding:
"The Army is incapable of generating and sustaining the required forces to wage the global war on terror . . . without its components - active, Guard and reserve - surging together."
As Perrspectives has noted before, outsourcing responsibility for strategic failure is one of the hallmarks of Bush's failed wartime leadership. (Payback, of course, is also one of the defining traits of the Bush White House.) By taking on and taking on Abizaid, Casey, Petraeus and others, President Bush is just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.