KUWAIT , Dec. 6 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that he expected American troops to withdraw from Iraq within four years, but he cautioned that any final decision hinged on the progress that Iraq's civilian government and security forces make by then.
Pentagon officials said this is only a temporary increase, through next March. But many American military officers and senior Iraqi ministry officials have forecast that the United States would have to keep a sizable troop presence in Iraq for years to come to battle a resilient and deadly insurgency, and to help prevent the country from spiraling into civil war.
Mr. Rumsfeld remained defiant in the face of critics who say the United States failed to send enough troops to Iraq initially to handle postwar security and now, to combat the insurgents.
He said that the decision on troop levels was largely "out of my control," since he was following the advice and requests of his regional commanders, first Gen. Tommy R. Franks and now, Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
Really? That was out of his control? The Secretary of Defense? This Secretary of Defense? The hard-assed, hands on, blizzard of internal memos Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld? That seems really hard to believe:
The strategy was consistent with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's push to transform the military so it would rely less on heavy ground troops and more on technology, intelligence and special operations forces.
Some military men, though, were worried that the administration would be caught short. Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first nine months of the Bush administration, was one of them.
At a Pentagon meeting early in 2003 with former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former vice chairmen and their successors, he voiced concerns that the United States would not have sufficient troops immediately after the dictator was ousted. He cautioned that it was important to have enough troops to deal with the unexpected.
If the United States and its allies wanted to maintain the same ratio of peacekeepers to population as it had in Kosovo, the briefing said, they would have to station 480,000 troops in Iraq. If Bosnia was used as benchmark, 364,000 troops would be needed. If Afghanistan served as the model, only 13,900 would be needed in Iraq. The higher numbers were consistent with projections later provided to Congress by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in Iraq. But Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed that estimate as off the mark.
Thomas E. White, then the secretary of the Army, said he had received similar guidance from Mr. Rumsfeld's office. "Our working budgetary assumption was that 90 days after completion of the operation, we would withdraw the first 50,000 and then every 30 days we'd take out another 50,000 until everybody was back," he recalled. "The view was that whatever was left in Iraq would be de minimis."
And what happened to White? To Shinseki? To Shelton? How about Anthony Zinni?
Replaced by people who agreed with Rumsfeld. So that Rumsfeld can today, dishonestly and embarrassingly, say he gave “military” commanders everything they asked for.
As long as it was what he told them to ask for.
Rumsfeld wanted about 40,000 troops.
What about the cost of this fiasco? It’s 220 billion dollars now. It’s running at about six billion dollars a month. Rumsfeld says, after two years, he doesn’t think we’ll have to be there more than another four years!
What did these bullshitters originally tell us?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House is downplaying published reports of an estimated $50 billion to $60 billion price tag for a war with Iraq, saying it is "impossible" to estimate the cost at this time.
In September, Daniels disputed an estimate by Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey -- who has since left the White House -- that war with Iraq could cost $200 billion.
Daniels said he believes Lindsey's estimate was "the upper end of a hypothetical," Duffy said.
And you know what happened to Larry Lindsey with his lowball estimate? Fucking fired.
And while they fired Lindsey and White, and Shinseki, and Zinni, what did Mr. Rumsfeld’s office tell us about the troops needed and the cost of rebuilding Iraq?
In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq.
He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it.
Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. "To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he said.
Well, what would we have to pay for this?
Back on April 23, 2003, Andrew Natsios -- head of the U.S. Agency for International Development -- laid out in a televised interview the costs to U.S. taxpayers of rebuilding Iraq. "The American part of this will be $1.7 billion," he said. "We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, in February 2003, dismissed reports that Pentagon budget specialists had put the cost of reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion during the first year -- in retrospect, relatively accurate forecasts. In testimony to Congress on March 27, 2003, Wolfowitz said that Iraq "can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz derided a general's claim that pacifying Iraq would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces. And Rumsfeld, in February 2003, predicted that the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
So, before the war, we were told that the war would take less than six months, cost $1.7 billion dollars, that Iraq could quickly pay for its own reconstruction, and that troops would be largely out by August of 2003.
And everyone who said otherwise was fired.
Two years later, with troop levels increasing, with Iraq not paying shit, with over $200 billion American taxpayer dollars pissed away, with 1500 dead Americans who were not welcomed as liberators, Rumsfeld says it shouldn’t take any more than four more years of this.
Though, again, Iraqis are saying Americans are going to have to be in Iraq another ten years.
Anyone remember Bush, all sweaty and jibbering, and confused in that third debate ridiculously and unbelievably accusing Kerry of the ol’ “bait and switch”?
What liars. Their incompetence is one thing. One horrendous, expensive, horrible thing. But it’s nearly as bad to listen to these gutless punks now lie about what they said and what they did.
Party of personal responsibility. Values. Integrity.
Not a one.
The smart ones, after all, all got fired.