Send 4,000 American troops from other parts of Iraq to the Anbar province to fight al-Qaida forces, and at the same time, pull back operations in Baghdad to allow Iraqi forces to patrol the streets and try to shut down the sectarian violence there.
An interesting idea, but it's pretty clear that Iraqi forces can't handle the violence that seems to escalate daily. Last week, Iraqi forces in Najaf -- the first province to receive the symbolic handover of security responsibility from U.S. troops -- had to be rescued by U.S. air and ground support when they were overpowered by a shadowy group of extremists in the city of Najaf. A NYT editorial gave this summary:
...in their first major battle, the Iraqis had to be bailed out by American air and ground forces. Hundreds of armed zealots had managed to set up a fortified encampment, complete with tunnels, trenches, blockades, 40 heavy machine guns and at least two antiaircraft weapons.
The Iraqis’ next mistake was sending only one army battalion and some police to raid this armed camp after its belated discovery. Government forces were quickly surrounded and called in American air support. Still pinned down, the Iraqis had to summon American ground support as well before they could advance on the camp.
This less-than-impressive performance by a supposedly top-of-the-line Iraqi Army division has grave implications for President Bush’s new Baghdad security drive, in which an additional 17,000 or so American troops are supposed to work in tandem with a much larger Iraqi force.
As a member of the House Intelligence committee, Rogers is well aware of what
happened in the "showcase" province of Najaf last week. It's pretty clear that
Iraqi troops are nowhere near ready "to patrol the streets and shut down the sectarian violence there," as Rogers would have them do.
Ignoring the reality on the ground is bad enough, but Rogers adds insult to ignorance by trotting off to the White House with his GOP Intel committee pals -- rather than working through the committee -- then turns around to wag his finger and say
Drop the shrill politics. The election is over. Work together for a solution.Actually, that's good advice. Mr. Rogers should take it and stop playing politics with American lives.