Exit Strategies


The latest “secret” military plan for Iraq, apparently just approved by Gen. George W. Casey, is suitable cryptic, but the following seem to be the main points, judging from an Inside the Pentagon interview with officials who reviewed the plan:

  • The military is planning for a wide range of changes the number of military personnel in Iraq between now and spring of 2006, from slightly increasing the Army to, in the most wildly optimistic scenario, bringing home 70,000 troops.
  • It will, however, be almost impossible to sustain the current force through 2006.
  • There’s no set timetable for withdrawal. The conditions for reduction will include “the state of the insurgency, the capability of Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqi government’s ability to support military operations,” to be determined by a “multinational advisory panel.”
  • “[S]ome defense analysts” think that “phasing troop reductions over the long term” is the best way to avoid instability.
  • How long term? “Some estimates” think the Pentagon will retain at least 20,000 military personnel in Iraq for perhaps a decade or more.
  • Seeing as how training the Iraqi Army doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, this likely means staying for a long, long time. The alternative, it seems, is the Center for American Progress’ recently-released “progressive” proposal to withdraw 80,000 troops by the end of 2006—no matter what—and then… deploy them elsewhere around the world. Because, really, the most sensible way to withdraw from Iraq is to get entangled in yet another quagmire. No, but seriously, is there any reason to think that putting 1,000 more troops in the Philippines, as CAP proposes, is a good idea? Is the plan to invade Mindano province and wipe out Abu Sayyaf? Maybe we can broaden the war to the MNLF and other Islamic separatist groups too? Should be fun, I’ll make popcorn.

    DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

    Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

    It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

    We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

    We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

    It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

    Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

    Signed by Clara Jeffery

    Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

    We Recommend

    Latest

    Sign up for our newsletters

    Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

    Get our award-winning magazine

    Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

    Subscribe

    Support our journalism

    Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

    Donate

    Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.