I’m not sure how many of you read the article I wrote this morning about the Pentagon’s “troop cut freeze” in Iraq. I’m not just mentioning it here because I’m hoping to get my readership up (though if that’s a side effect, I sure won’t complain), rather I write this because of an article on the exact same topic that CNN.com put up around the same time.
While my story is based on the reports already out there publicly, CNN sites all sorts of “sources”. Both articles say much the same thing, but what strikes me is the dramatically different tone.
On 9/11/07, General Petraeus predicted the troop level would be down to 130,000 by this summer. In April of this year, the AP said the pause would leave over 100,000 troops in Iraq by the time President Bush leaves office. The reality is that 146,000 troops are still there, and the Pentagon is urging the President to keep them there until he is out of office. Then, and only then, they suggest that 7,500 troops could be pulled out of Iraq, and most of them would end up in Afghanistan. These are the facts as I presented then this morning. Here is what CNN said:
The top U.S. general in Iraq is recommending nearly 8,000 troop cuts in Iraq because of the improving situation there, a source close to the process has told CNN.
Nowhere is it mentioned that what they’re actually proposing is a several-month-long further delay of already planned troop cuts. And what is the deal with “because of the improving situation there” featuring so prominently in the opening paragraph? What sense does that make? The situation has improved so much that a year later we still can’t reduce troops to the pre-surge level the General in charge predicted a year ago when he said the surge had accomplished all its goals? Can someone explain that to me?