By Robert Silvey
George Bush’s minions have again leaked the amazing news that Bush is considering removing lots of American troops from Vietnam â€¦ oh, I mean Iraq. I thought for a moment it was another announcement of Dick Nixon’s secret plan for peace. David Sanger and David Cloud at the New York Times seem to take the leak at face value:
The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar Province.
The mission would instead focus on the training of Iraqi troops and fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, while removing Americans from many of the counterinsurgency efforts inside Baghdad.
This astounding news is attributed to “senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate”â€”an internal debate, I presume, not about what actions to take in Iraq but what lies to tell in America. Whether Vietnam or Iraq, it’s deja vu all over again, and again, and again, as Glenn Greenwald documents at Salon: nearly identical leaks, suppositions, and announcements of illusory troop reductions ever since the Mission was Accomplished:
For four straight years, the same set of war supporters have constantly and repetitiously given the same exact false assurances about Iraq — virtually verbatim — in order to protect themselves politically. It is hard to know what is more amazing about this ritual — (a) how stupid they believe Americans are that they can make the same commitments over and over which never transpire, or (b) that the press jumps each time to proclaim the imminent troop reductions as though it never happened before:
The media might have learned a lesson or two about mendacity and complaisance by this time. Bush will always promise to reduce the numbers while increasing the numbers. His liesâ€”and his warâ€”will continue until Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can round up enough Republicans to call a veto-proof halt. And that will happen when the constituents of those Republicans let them know that their reelection is in danger as long as they support the Iraq War. In the meantime, it would be refreshing to see some Greenwaldian context in the newspaper of record. And some outrage at an administration that plays us all for forgetful fools.