Reader Sglover quite legitimately notes that the Warlord is immune to objective reality and institutional restraints. Belief is enough. Another Warlord in history sacked his better generals when confronted with reality in favor of ideologically compatible fanatics; belief in victory the only qualification.
We still believe that this all hollow show. The audiences are Congress, the American people, the Iraqis and Iranians (the latter two not the least bit falling for it). Interestingly, neither are the American people, only Congress. (Again).
The key issue is to settle the Who Lost Iraq? question here. Obviously the Warlord and Cheney want to pin it on Congress to de-legitimize it as an independent branch and smear Democrats. But DoD also wants to recover from the Feith/Rummy/Wolfie cf and achieve enough to blame State overall and the Embassy for failing to deliver the political side.
We still believe the troops come home starting Spring and in larger numbers by Fall. If the surge stays in place past the breaking date of circa April, then we have passed into the larger realm of the military too infected with Fanaticism and Will over material reality. And Sglover, we will send you a free Stiftung mug for helping us ponder different outcomes.
We have heard (second hand, but a trusted source) that some upon whose collars Heaven shines (not Pace’s 4, but . . .) that does not appear to be the case. We obviously can’t name them here. Even for some of those with operational command responsibilities in the Area of Operations and with direct familiarity with the tactical and operational situation in Iraq.
Yet Sglover’s observations about the Warlord remain true. We look to April as a sign.