It is one of the most troublesome questions right now at the Pentagon, and it has started a semantic dance: What is the definition of a combat soldier? More important, when will all American combat troops withdraw from the major cities of Iraq?
The short answers are that combat troops, defined by the military as those whose primary mission is to engage the enemy with lethal force, will have to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, the deadline under a recently approved status-of-forces agreement between the United States and Iraq.
The long answers open up some complicated, sleight-of-hand responses to military and political problems facing President-elect Barack Obama.
Even though the agreement with the Iraqi government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June, military planners are now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed "trainers" and "advisers" in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else.
The above is from Elisabeth Bumiller's "Trying to Redefine Role of U.S. Military in Iraq" (New York Times) which offers nothing that this community didn't already know and hasn't already addressed for approximately 16 months so it's interesting that this is the first time the reality emerges from a news outlet. And note that the byline is "Elisabeth Bumiller," not "Amy Goodman," not "Katrina vanden Heuvel," not "Matthew Rothschild," not "Norman Solomon" and certainly not "Laura Flanders."
Bumiller's analysis exists not only on the printed page of today's paper, it also exists in the context of Panhandle Media which wants to be seen as 'independent' and which claims it tells the truth and the MSM lies and lies. But who's offering reality? Bumiller, not all the beggars of so-called 'independent' media. And don't just blame the US idiots. Patrick Cockburn's been more than happy to insult Bumiller this decade (repeatedly, in fact -- and so has his self-loathing lesbian niece Laura Flanders). This month Cockburn's made a fool of himself claiming all US forces would be leaving Iraq under the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement and what a victory it was for Iraq and Barack. Panhandle Media wanted to lecture and hector Big Media. And that would be fine if they had any damn integrity of their own. But they don't. FAIR made a complete ass out of itself this year and there is not one MSM outlet that is remotely sympathetic to its 'cause' as a result. Panhandle Media has driven off a large portion of its audience and will have to spend years trying to get them back.
Bumiller's analysis also exists in the context of United For Pathetic and Juvenile (see "Editorial: The Pathetic and Shameful UPFJ") -- the alleged 'leader' in the peace movement which spent this month's multi-day strategy sessions explaining how Barack was 'our' "quarterback" and we were being drafted to play defense for him. What stupid morons.
Bumiller notes that "trainers" and "advisers" will be the renaming terms for "combat troops" in order to keep them in Iraq: "In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else." Of Barack, she notes, "it has become clear that his definition of ending the war means leaving behind many thousands of American troops."
Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Princess Brat Campaigns" went up yesterday.
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