- Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene 1
President Bush will be taking credit for withdrawing troops from Iraq in the next four to six months. He will claim that it is because "the surge is working." Putting aside for the moment the fact that a surge which lasts longer than six months is probably more accurately referred to as an escalation, we must all remember exactly why those troops will be coming home by next April.
They will be coming home because their return is part of a regularly scheduled rotation.
The announcement affects about 35,000 active-duty troops, who all will deploy between August and the year’s end to serve as replacement forces for those returning home, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. The units will deploy for up to 15 months. [Emphasis mine]
- American Forces Press Service
So sometime between now and April, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35,000 troops will be returning home - withdrawn, if you will - as part of a normal rotation pattern.
Here's what the Richmond Times Dispatch, one of the most reliably conservative and Republican papers in the nation, says:
There are 162,000 troops in Iraq -- the largest number since the March 2003 invasion. Pentagon officials have said the increased force likely would have to be trimmed by next spring because of training and rotation requirements. [Again, emphasis mine]It's not that the surge is working, it's that our military is stretched to the breaking point and we need to bring units home to rest.
As Devilstower said on DailyKos:
We're but a Freidman unit away from Magical April, when the administration will run out of troops to put on the front lines, draw back to the levels before the recent escalation, parade it before the public as a "large reduction in forces," and claim that they, not the Democrats, are the only ones doing anything about reducing forces in Iraq.Taking credit for the return of some of our soldiers in the next six months is like taking credit for the surge in Federal tax revenue every April.
So when you start reading stories about a withdrawl of troops initiated by The Executive, remember that these troops are being withdrawn because they are exhausted and have given all they have to give, not because the Administration strategy is working.
[update] As usual, Keith Olbermann gets it.
And got there before I did.