10/8/05:IRAQ:US WITHDRAW PLAN A MEDIA SPIN(GLW/FWD).
- From: uneoo@xxxxxxxxxx
- Date: 17 Aug 2005 02:07:31 +1000
[AddedNote: Having set-out to undertake a plan for total failure,
the US Administration continued with the so-called 'Iraqification'
of conflict it has created. Despite recent media spins for US
withdrawing from Iraq, the Administration may never have had a
proper exist strategy from conflict in Iraq. Meanwhile, the theft
of Iraq Oils along with US corporations profiteering continued,
needless saying at the expense of Iraqi people and US soldier's
lives. -- U Ne Oo.]
GREENLEFT WEEKLY AUSTRALIA, 10 AUG 2005
IRAQ: US TROOP WITHDRAWL PLANNED FOR NEXT YEAR?
Over the last few weeks the US corporate media have been abuzz with
reports that the Pentagon has secretly drawn up plans to withdraw most
of its troops from Iraq next year. This story was given a major boost
when General George Casey, the commander of US forces in Iraq, told
reporters in Baghdad that there could be fairly substantial reductions
in the numbers of US troops in Iraq by the next northern spring.
Casey's statement was given headline treatment in the US corporate
press. It was interpreted as a signal that, while US President George
Bush has repeatedly made public statements rejecting calls for a
withdrawal timetable, the Pentagon has been instructed by the White
House to secretly draw up just such a timetable.
Even when Pentagon officials denied this, the corporate press kept up
the withdrawal spin. The July 28 Wall Street Journal, for example, ran
a front-page article reporting that Pentagon officials not only denied
that they had any plans for a reduction in the present size of US
forces in Iraq, they said they were actually looking at increasing the
number of US troops in Iraq in the next few months.
Any troop reduction isn't likely to start soon; in fact, overall troop
numbers are likely to go up somewhat before they begin to head down,
the WSJ reported. Despite this, the article was headlined US Opens
Door for Big Pullback in Iraq Next Year.
The media spin about secret Pentagon planning for a big withdrawal of
US troops next year was given a further boost by the August 8 edition
of Newsweek magazine, which hit newsstands on August 1.
The Pentagon has developed a detailed plan in recent months to scale
down the US troop presence in Iraq to about 80,000 by mid-2006 and
down to 40,000 to 60,000 troops by the end of that year, according to
two Pentagon officials involved in the planning who asked not to be
identified because of the sensitive nature of their work, Newsweek
The report claimed that Casey had hinted at those numbers last week
when he told reporters that the United States will be still able to
take some fairly substantial reductions if Iraq can keep to the
timeline set out in the US-sponsored interim constitution, which calls
for elections for a permanent Iraqi government by Dec. 15, 2005.
The report then added: After that, US officials believe, the main task
of the US occupation will have been completed.
Casey, however, stated that any reduction of US forces in Iraq would
dependent upon Washington's puppet Iraqi security forces being able to
take over from US troops in fighting the Iraqi anti-occupation
insurgency, whose combat forces are bigger than the US military in
Iraq, according to General Mohammed Shahwani, the US-appointed Iraqi
While Casey implied this might be possible next year, in a report
prepared by General Peter Pace, the incoming top US military officer,
concluded that only a small number of US-recruited Iraqi forces were
capable of fighting the guerrillas without US assistance.
According to US military reports, of the 145,000 combat-capable Iraqi
security forces, 50,000 exist only on paper (their pay being pocketed
by their officers). Another 55,000 refuse to fight the anti-occupation
guerrillas, and only 14,000 are fully trained, but are believed to be
thoroughly infiltrated by supporters of the anti-occupation
Clearly, the puppet Iraqi forces are in no position to replace US
troops in fighting the insurgency. So what is this talk about plans
for a big US troops withdrawal next year? According to Newsweek, the
Bush administration wants to pre-empt growing public pressure for
withdrawal, which could give the insurgents a Vietnam-like strategic
Latest opinion polls show that 53% of US voters now believe that the
US will lose the war in Iraq and 51% want the Bush administration to
set a timetable for withdrawal.
In addition, the Pentagon is well aware that its inability to crush
the anti-occupation guerrillas in Iraq is eroding recruitment rates to
the US military. Military planners ... are deeply concerned about
driving away Army careerists and recruits if current deployments are
forced into 2007, Newsweek reported. If the US Army has to do another
rotation into Iraq in the fall of 2006 to keep force levels up to
their current 138,000, it goes off a cliff, says retired Gen. Barry
After a week-long visit to Iraq in early June, McCaffrey, a retired US
Army commander, told the US Senate's foreign relations committee on
July 18 that the strain of the war in Iraq was pushing the US military
forces toward a meltdown. McCaffrey told the committee: The Army and
Marines are starting to come apart. The National Guard is in a stage
McCaffrey's assessment was supported by a US Army mental health team's
study dated January 30 and released on July 20. The study found that
54% of US soldiers in Iraq rated their unit's morale as low or very
low. Summarising the findings of the study, Associated Press reported
that psychological stress is weighing particularly heavily on National
Guard and Reserve troops ...
The thing that bothered soldiers the most, the latest assessment said,
was the length of their required stay in Iraq. At the start of the
war, most were deployed for six months, but now they go for 12 months.
The talk of a big pull-out of US troops from Iraq next year is
particularly aimed at countering the low morale among National Guard
and Reserve troops. These part-time soldiers make up about 35% of the
US occupation forces in Iraq, down from more than 40% a year ago.
The July 12 New York Times reported that the number of Army National
Guard and Reserve soldiers deployed in Iraq will fall substantially
over the next 12 months simply because more and more of these troops
who have been involuntarily mobilized are nearing their 24-month
maximum call-up limit set by the Bush administration.
The Times went on to report that the Pentagon would attempt to
compensate for the decline in the number of part-time soldiers able to
be deployed in Iraq by increasingly turning to the Navy and Air Force
to provide truck drivers and security personnel and hiring more
private contractors, that is, mercenary soldiers, of whom there are
already about 20,000 in Iraq.
While Pentagon officials feed stories to the corporate media about
plans for a substantial US troop reduction next year, Washington
continues to push ahead with its strategic plan for Iraq. This calls
for the building of four large, small-city-sized bases from which US
troops and air power will permanently control Iraq and provide the
platform for mounting a future Iraq-style regime change invasion of
neighbouring oil- and gas-rich Iran.
The May 22 Washington Post reported that this plan calls for
construction of long-lasting facilities, such as barracks
and offices built of concrete blocks, rather than the metal trailers
and buildings that are found at the [existing] larger US bases in Iraq
The new buildings are being designed to withstand direct mortar
strikes, according to a senior military engineer. Funding for the
first group of redesigned barracks was included in the $82 billion
supplemental war-spending bill approved by Congress this month, he
In a letter published in the July 30 New York Times, Ronald Asher from
Irvine, California, argued that Washington has no real withdrawal
plan, adding: My brother-in-law just returned from a stint in Iraq
with the Minnesota Air National Guard. Although he couldn't tell me
where in Iraq he was stationed, he did say that the level and type of
construction going on at the air base convinced him that the United
States military planned on being there for a very long time.
>From Green Left Weekly, August 10, 2005.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.
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POST: Dr U Ne Oo, 18 Shannon Place,Adelaide SA5000,AUSTRALIA
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