These excerpts from an AlterNet article today are sobering:
Also this week, we learned that General George Casey, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, had requested half the number of troops Bush ultimately requested (Casey originally opposed any increase in troops). At the same time, we learn that the "surge" was a bait-and-switch; a new report by the Congressional Budget Office found that Bush's request for just over 20,000 combat troops would require a deployment of as many as 28,000 additional personnel, including support and logistics troops and contractors. According to the Washington Post, "That could mean the plan would involve up to 48,000 troops and contractors, at a cost of between $9 billion and $13 billion for the first four months and up to $27 billion for the first year." The report contradicts testimony given Congress just last week by the army Chief of Staff.
So when Bush asks America to give his plan to send 21,000 troops to fortify Baghdad and help train Iraqi security forces "a chance," what he's really saying is, 'regardless of what Congress, the American people and the Iraq Study Group want to see happen, I will send 50,000 under-equipped troops into the meat-grinder so that they can more effectively arm and train Shiite militias.' This, while the administration steadfastly refuses to engage in a parallel diplomatic push with Iraq's neighbors -- one that might give the plan some small chance of success -- choosing instead to rattle its saber towards Iran.
Senator Chris Dodd responded to all this by saying: "This is the United States Senate. This is not some city council somewhere…It seems to me sending something down that engages the president, that forces the administration to pay attention is something we ought to be considering."
Russ Feingold added, "A political victory is not more important than ending this war," and he's right. With an attack against Iran seeming ever more probable, this is the time to lay down hard constraints, to cut funding for Bush's escalation, demand he seek Congressional authorization to spread his conflict beyond Iraq and move towards ending the occupation. Anything less at this point is too little, too late.
Personally, I've got to agree with the very last sentence. Our elected "leaders" need to actually "lead" us out of this mess . . . .