General Petraeus, appearing before several congressional committees, told people how well things are going in Iraq, the surge has surged its total surginess, and the gains are obvious, although, perhaps, maybe, possibly a little bit "fragile and reversible."
Things are going so well that the overall commander of forces in Iraq recommends that the US stop withdrawing troops and maintain the current manpower levels at about 140,000 from July 2008, forward about 45 days. This is equivalent to arriving back at the same troop strength as before the surge.
Whatever logic there may be in stopping the withdrawal of troops because things are going so well, seemed to be totally lost on most of the Democratic senators and representatives. Somehow, the various Republican members seem to truly believe that they can see the sense of that strange chop logic.
Apparently, these are most excellent ideas. Generalissimo Jorge el Arbusto Bush de la Crawford announced today that in his role as El Jefe he would end the drawdown of troops, reduce the tour of duty from 15 to 12 months in Iraq, and make an effort to keep the regimental rotations at a year home for a year in Iraq. In a strange use of terminology, Bush stated that there was significant political and economic progress in Iraq and he referred to a "major strategic shift."
Since none of the various worldwide commentators have noticed or noted any changes in the completely failed political realities or dismal economic fortunes of Iraq, the notion of progress seems almost ridiculously strange. Many observors are trying to learn from the Pentagon's finest just what benchmarks are being used to peg this peculiar form of "progress." The responses ranged from "delusional" to "non compos mentis" and on into "Alzheimers" and "phantasmagorical."
And none of the world's military strategists can perceive even the faintest glimmer of a shift, major or minor. One wag, a British brigadier, who insisted on being anonymous, pointed out that "lacking any stated strategy, moreover, the Yanks are not likely to create much of a shift after all. But then," he surmised, "without an actual strategy that can be measured against, a fool such as Bush can claim any and every old happenstance is a shift of some kind or another. Folderol."
A Regimental Sergeant Major, anonymously by phone from Bagdad, pointed out that General Petraeus did not use such terms. "If there's a strategy somewhere in this mess, it's the best kept secret in the history of modern warfare and known only to Mr. Bush when he's talking about it."
Both the Sergeant Major and the Brigadier hold the opinion that the number of coalition forces killed in action has been substantially reduced by cutting back on the number of offensive patrols mounted each day. The brigadier observed that people hunker in their bunker while insurgents lob rockets, mortars, and grenades into the Green Zone.
"It's tiresome," said the senior officer. "Active patrols had been keeping those buggers in the countryside and out of range. Now they just come in close and fire away. Little harm done, though. They're not very good at it. But they may get better with practice . . . or even lucky with enough chances."