When Is A Troop Reduction Not A Draw Down?

You are probably reading accounts this morning of President Bush’s speech last night where he proudly announced that US troop levels would be reduced by as much as 30,000 but guess what? According to numerous accounts, it is only because 30,000 troops will have reached the end of their deployments and we don’t have the manpower to replace them!

From Senator Tim Johnson in this morning’s RCJ:

“Our troops and their families are exhausted. The Petraeus report is mixed, at best,” he said. “We are treading water in Iraq, and the clock keeps ticking in a war that has lasted longer than World War II. It is time for the Iraqi people to take charge of their future and for us to transition our troops to training Iraqi security forces and conducting counter-terrorism operations.”

He said that bringing back the 30,000 troops was not a strategy to reduce troop levels because the troops were nearing the end of their deployments.

“Many of these 30,000 troops are facing the end of their deployment and will come home as expected, and frankly, we do not have the manpower necessary to replace them,” he said. “It is not a strategy to reduce troop levels when our hands are tied and additional rotations would push our military to its limits.”

So what should we read into President Bush’s speech? Apparently not that things are so much better that we can now start bringing troops home. Instead it sounds much more like Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq has put so much strain on our military that we can no longer meet operational requirements. How’s that for making you feel secure?

On a side note from the very same article, can Stephanie Herseth Sandlin take a stand on anything?

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., said she was disappointed in the report by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, even though she has great respect for the men and their abilities.

“What he is an axe murderer? He was always nice to me”…

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