The Plan Formerly Known As "Cut & Run"

My how things change. It was less than a month ago when Republicans and the Bush administration were smearing any talk of a phased withdrawal as “cut & run.”

Now we get – courtesy of the Washington Post – a sneak preview of the Pentagon’s three proposed options for Iraq – Go Big, Go Long & Go Home.

The first option – Go Big – is really another name for John McCain’s Fantasy Island plan — a plan that makes you sound tough without the baggage of ever having to be pulled off. Here’s what the Post says:

“Go Big,” the first option, originally contemplated a large increase in U.S. troops in Iraq to try to break the cycle of sectarian and insurgent violence. A classic counterinsurgency campaign, though, would require several hundred thousand additional U.S. and Iraqi soldiers as well as heavily armed Iraqi police. That option has been all but rejected by the study group, which concluded that there are not enough troops in the U.S. military and not enough effective Iraqi forces, said sources who have been informally briefed on the review.

The third option – Go Home – is really just there for PR purposes; it is an immediate withdrawal that the administration will say echoes what Dems are calling for even though no Dems are really calling for it. It’s not a serious proposal but will certainly confusing many in the media.

That leaves with Go Long – which is really a form of phased withdrawal; similar to the Kerry and Murtha plans it is something for which a lot of Dems have been calling.

But wait – the Bushies can’t have that. So here is what’s coming:

The group conducting the review is likely to recommend a combination of a small, short-term increase in U.S. troops and a long-term commitment to stepped-up training and advising of Iraqi forces, the officials said.

It’s cut and run with a tough guy feint on the front end.

With troop lives and American interests on the line, it is sad that we continue to see these “serious” foreign policy analysts more concerned about the politics of a resolution than anything else.

And let me tell you what else is missing from the Post piece regarding the various options – any mention of Afghanistan.

How can any of this be taken seriously?

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