Right on cue for Monday…
LONDON, July 10 -- The United States and Britain are drawing up plans to withdraw the majority of their troops from Iraq by the middle of next year, according to a secret memo written for British Prime Minister Tony Blair by Defense Secretary John Reid.(Emphasis mine.)
The paper, which is marked Secret -- UK Eyes Only, said emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006, allowing a reduction in overall U.S.-led forces in Iraq to 66,000 troops. The troop level is now at about 160,000, including 138,000 American troops, according to a military spokesman in Baghdad.
Reid on Sunday did not dispute the authenticity of the document, but said that no decision on troop levels had been made. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said officials there had not seen the document.
A few things:
1) Why wouldn’t any competent military force plan for as many contingencies as any run-of-the-mill brain-storming session would produce?
2) Assuming the memo is real, why would a traditional media source publish such a memo, since,
a) It is likely that the enemy would misunderstand this planning memo as thoroughly as the traditional media has.3) Hasn’t the traditional media been lambasting the Bush Administration and/or the Defense Department for lack of planning?
b) Those in the know—i.e. the heads of state, the military and anyone else with an ounce of common sense—have said over and over again that announcement of a pull-out date would cause Zarqawi and friends to lay low until said date.
4) Isn’t it time that western governments started investigating and prosecuting these criminals who leak classified material?
The bodies of London’s terror victims aren’t even all accounted for yet. However, the other enemies of freedom don’t have time to waste.
(Thanks to James Joyner)