It’s been the linchpin of the Bush war policy in Iraq: “As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” By one count, White House officials have used the phrase publicly over 125 times, not including media interviews. It’s the key principle that will lead U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq.
Or rather, it used to be.
Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.
Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.
So, we’re sending more U.S. troops, and extending their tours, while at the same time downplaying the very idea of training Iraqi troops to defend their own country. “The goal was to put the Iraqis in charge,” said Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The problem is we didn’t know how to do it.”
As Swopa concluded, “‘As the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down’ now joins the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner and ‘Plan for Victory’ signs on the rhetorical junkpile.”