Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Troop Shell Game

President Obama took a moment to surprise the troops in Iraq before heading back to Washington today. At Camp Victory, in front of 600 troops, the President stated that it is time for the Iraqi government to move forward and to “stand on its own as a democratic country.” As candidate for the Democrat nomination and during the Presidential campaign, President Obama refused to acknowledge that the surge worked. Perhaps now he has when he said, “[Iraq] need to take responsibility for their country” and noted the job done the troops have done is “.. an extraordinary achievement.”

The time table is still 18 months to draw down troops in Iraq. While forces are drawing down in Iraq they will be ramping up in Afghanistan. Americans do not be fooled by the shell game going on. President Obama will bring home the troops from Iraq only to re-deploy them to Afghanistan. The question will is: how well equipped will the troops be that enter Afghanistan?
President Obama stated, today at Camp Victory, that he has set aside the budget to do what is “required” for those returning home from Iraq. The statement comes on the heels of President Obama’s plan to require private insurance reimbursement to the VA for treatment of troops injured in combat. Granted President Obama has since recanted the notion or at least reconsidered it. Are we to believe that he fixed his budget to accommodate wounded veterans or is it just hidden away only to be unveiled later.

Another concern that will affect troop re-deployment to Afghanistan and Pakistan is the recommendations made by Defense Secretary Gates to “overhaul” the defense budget. When our troops originally went to war with Iraq, many were without basic armor and gear. With the diversity of the war combat going to be required in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is it smart to take proven tactical weapons off the table.