Operation “Dump This Clusterfuck on the Democrats” continues in earnest:
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in Baghdad on Monday he was in favour of a short pause in troop drawdowns from Iraq after about 30,000 soldiers have been sent home by July.
Gates said the security situation in Baghdad remained “fragile,” a comment echoed on the streets of the capital which was rocked by two car bombings that left 11 people dead just as he was winding up his surprise trip to Iraq.
“I think that the notion of a brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense,” he told reporters after a two-hour meeting with the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.
“I must say, in my own thinking, I am headed in that direction as well but one of the keys is how long is that period and what happens after that. It still has to be determined and decided by the president.”
The 157,000-strong US force in the insurgency-wracked country is currently on track to come down from 19 brigades to 15 by July, a reduction of at least 20,000 troops plus another 7,000 to 10,000 members of support units, according to military commanders in Iraq.
Gates has previously expressed the hope that the drawdown can continue to about 10 brigades or about 100,000 troops by year’s end.
For the skinny on the lack of planning that got us into this mess (a lack of planning discussed by war critics that fatheaded kool-aid drinkers like me derided), see here.