The Civilian 'Leadership' - UPDATE

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.
Ok, let's look at this one carefully. President NationalGuard McFlightsuit wants to send 30,000 troops into a situation where the professional military experts - career soldiers - say that it's a bad idea. The Military seems to think that sending 30,000 soldiers into harms way on a poorly defined mission because it's really the only plan that BushCo. can come up with is a bad idea. On top of that, the Military knows that scrounging up another 30,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen isn't going to be easy or good for the long term health of the military. If Bush recognizes this, he's decided that a major blow the the effectiveness of the U.S. military and untold numbers of deaths are not to large a price to pay for the chance to rescue his legacy.
At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn -- then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.
But the legacy, we must save the legacy!

Here's the most telling part of the whole Washington Post piece:
A senior administration official said it is "too simplistic" to say the surge question has broken down into a fight between the White House and the Pentagon, but the official acknowledged that the military has questioned the option. "Of course, military leadership is going to be focused on the mission -- what you're trying to accomplish, the ramifications it would have on broader issues in terms of manpower and strength and all that," the official said.
Hmmm... The military is fixating on things like 'what you're trying to accomplish, ramifications, broader issues and logistics. Those sound like important things. I think a President should probably be thinking about all that too. But our President isn't concerned with details, or reality "and all that." He goes with his gut.

God help us all.

UPDATE: 2:22 pm

Think Progress
points us to this speech by George W. Bush explaining how troop levels are determined:
Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.
I realize that in a changing situation, it's important for a leader to be able to adjust certain positions and guidlines. Infact, leaders that don't change in the face of changing situations are bad leaders. But when it comes to strategic troop deployments, flip-flopping from 'I'll let the military decide how many soldiers it needs to do its job' to 'More troops to save my legacy!' I'm going to call you out on it.

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