Iraq offensive brings out journalistic big guns
The current Iraq offensive has brought out this morning the big guns of military journalism: Tom Ricks
and John Burns
. Pay attention. They know their stuff. Their assessments of the current battle under way: Not bad, not good. ... Tactically, not bad in the short-term, though Burns notes Al Qaeda leaders have apparently slipped the noose again. Strategically, not good in the long-term, for the same old patterns keep repeating themselves: Al Qaeda leaders getting away, doubts about the performance of Iraqi soldiers, lack of troops, lack of time, etc. ... Burns's report contains something I've never seen: Military officials in Washington have determined that April 2008 is the "last point at which the current American force level of about 156,000 — augmented by the additional five Army brigades and Marine units deployed as part of the so-called surge — can be sustained, given staffing constraints." ... So there's going to be a troop reduction no matter what next spring? I'd advise Democrats to simply step back on the troop-withdrawal demands. No need to be blamed for something the military has already decided to do. This is Bush's own disaster. ...