GETTING OUT….National Journal’s cover story this week is about our inevitable withdrawal from Iraq. It might not happen soon, but it’s going to happen eventually:
The military could take a host of steps to help mitigate the risks of a U.S. troop drawdown….But all of those options require the careful planning and hard decision-making that [retired Col. Richard Sinnreich] fears are being stymied by the deadlock in Washington. “The downside of this political theater in Washington, and the disingenuous refusal to admit that we’ve lost the political will to keep American troops heavily engaged in Iraq indefinitely,” he said, “is that it keeps military planners from developing a timetable and a deliberate plan for withdrawal.”
It’s almost impossible for the military to seriously plan for a contingency — withdrawal — that the commander-in-chief won’t even discuss, Sinnreich noted.
The U.S. military has contingencies for practically everything, as it should. But not for withdrawal from Iraq, even though everyone knows it’s only a matter of time until it happens. Why? Because president Bush refuses to allow the planning to go forward.
Question: is the military brass eventually going to revolt over this? After all, they’re the ones who have borne the brunt of the civilian leadership’s irresponsible lack of planning for the original occupation, and they surely know that they’ll also bear the brunt of a botched withdrawal, if and when it happens. How long will it be until they make it clear that they just aren’t willing to be the scapegoat for yet another round of irresponsible leadership?