We’re finally getting a “comprehensive strategy for victory,” and the initial results look, well, exactly the same as they’ve always been. No set deadlines for withdrawal, but certain conditions have to be met.
So what’s changed?
In a 35-page document released by the White House this morning, the administration produced what it called its “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” which it said articulates “the broad strategy the president set forth in 2003 and provides an update on our progress as well as the challenges remaining.”
The document emphasizes that the American strategy in Iraq will take time, and that it must be based on conditions rather than deadlines. Troop levels are expected – but not guaranteed – to change over the next year, the document says, as the political process takes hold and Iraqi troops gain more experience.
Again, I’m not sure what’s changed here. Regardless of that, we need to make sure that those conditions are truly met. That’s going to be the tricky part and now more than ever we have to keep on top of this so Iraq doesn’t suffer because of political opportunism from both sides.
And here’s a little bit more about the plan not really changing…
The White House has said that the strategy to be outlined today was not new, but that it had never been assembled into a single unclassified document. As the booklet was described by administration officials, much of it sounded like a list of goals for Iraq’s military, political and economic development rather than new prescriptions on how to accomplish the job. In a related effort to begin extricating American forces next year, military officials said Tuesday that they would seek billions of additional dollars to better train Iraqis to defend the country.
More money? Don’t we still have a bunch of money we haven’t spent yet? As of July of last year, we had only spent 2% of what we’re were given for Iraq. And then early this year we discovered that nearly 9 billion dollars had gone unaccounted for.
However, as I dig a little farther I get to this episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross that talks about $30 billion already being spent, as of November 2nd, 2005. But didn’t we already have 87 billion? And didn’t Bush request another 70 billion after the election?
Where has the money gone?