The Value Of Shutting One's Mouth
The Pentagon thrives on preparedness. They have plans for invading Micronesia, just in case. Everyone is well aware of their many contingencies. That doesn't mean they have to be spoken out loud. It is a huge mistake for George Casey to make these kinds of headlines.
The United States could have fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade, the top Army officer said, even though a signed agreement requires all U.S. forces to be out of Iraq by 2012.
Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, said Tuesday his planning envisions combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade as part of a sustained U.S. commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism in the Middle East.
People read that in Iraq and the Muslim world and suspect that the occupiers will never leave. And who suffers? Our troops, as rage at the occupiers grows.
I have no doubt that there are worst-case scenarios where troops remain in Iraq. But we have a signed bilateral agreement that mandates our departure, and treating that like a piece of paper really harms our effort over there. Iraqis cannot be expected to act in good faith while the military can set up their own rules.
Bob Gates needs to clean this up.
...let me be clear, I don't just think we shouldn't say we're staying, I don't think we should stay, either. Our presence allows the major factions to resist reconciliation.