Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ABC News: U.S. May Pull Out of Al Anbar 
Thanks to ABC News for leaking operational plans well ahead of time. Not even lip service is paid to the probability that the very fact that we have news reports that the U.S. is considering pulling troops from Al Anbar will force the sheikhs and tribal elders in the region to adjust their risk calculus to account for the possibility that we will - therefore costing us support, aiding our enemies, and making it less likely that such a pullout will be possible. And costing the lives of our Soldiers and Marines for good measure.

In other news, ABC News has promoted a lowly Colonel - not even a commander, to my knowledge, to the level of "Top Marine" in Al Anbar.

"Top Marine????"

No. He's the senior intelligence officer in Al Anbar. He's not the senior maneuver commander, nor even among them.

Thanks to ABC News for not understanding the distinction.

Oh, and ABC News apparently thinks Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has command authorit-tie. He does not.

Faced with that situation in al-Anbar, and the desperate need to control Iraq's capital, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace is considering turning al-Anbar over to Iraqi security forces and moving U.S. troops from there into Baghdad.

That call does not belong to Peter Pace. That decision belongs to Abizaid, who works directly for the SecDef, not for Pace - and to General Casey, who works directly for Abizaid.

I don't want to see us walk away from the fight in Al Anbar in any way. Al Anbar is the biggest cesspool of Al Qaeda types in the world, and we need to be there and stronger than they are.

On the other hand, while they are less of a player in Baghdad, Baghdad is still Ground Zero in the hypermodern, media-centric facet of the war, which may yet prove decisive. The Generals are stating that the main effort is now Baghdad, not Al Anbar, and so we have already seen a movement of troops from Al Anbar to Iraq - including a battalion of Strykers just a few weeks ago.

I am not convinced that Baghdad can be stabilized without first cutting the sunni insurgent elements off from support via Al Anbar and Syria. I'm not convinced that Baghdad can be stabilized while Al Qaeda grows stronger just a few miles up the road, in Fallujah, Ramadi, Hit, Habbaniya, Haditha, and Qaim. Those are the cities along the Rat Trail - the Ho Chih Minh Trail of the war.

But if the war for the will of the people of the United States is the critical fight (it is for Al Qaeda, and they know it), then the more patient anaconda plan - strangle Baghdad's insurgents first, then destroy them - may not be feasible in a politically acceptable time frame.

According to this report, ABC has gotten it wrong (again). Troops are NOT coming from Al Anbar.


"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an effort to restore security in Baghdad, the U.S. military plans to move at least three more battalions of American soldiers into the Iraqi capital, a senior Pentagon official said.

Between 500 and 900 troops are in an Army battalion, but the Pentagon official could not give the exact number of troops involved in the movements.

The official said the troops will not include Marines based in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, where troops and insurgents have been fighting along the Euphrates River corridor. Instead, the official said, the troops will be moved from more peaceful regions, such as northern Iraq.

The troop shifts won't require an increase in forces in the country, the official said.

Some troops are in the Baghdad area but will be moved closer into the city."
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