Project For the New American Century (PNAC) founding puppeteer and neocon icon Bill Kristol (currently the editor of The Weekly Standard and formerly chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle) has been singing his lullabies to the American people in the Op-Ed pages of late:
I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one.[...]
...[T]he losses and costs of the war are real. Bush is a war president, and war presidents are judged by whether they win or lose their war. So to be a successful president, Bush has to win in Iraq.
Which I now think we can. Indeed, I think we will.
David Corn, who pointed out back on January, 2nd that Kristol likes to sing with his eyes closed, mentions in his recent critique of Kristol's latest lullaby an interesting factoid -- one that demonstrates the high cost and low rate of progress that's being achieved in terms of preparing the Iraqis to secure themselves and to no longer be reliant on the U.S.
The United States has already spent $19 billion training 346,500 or so Iraqi troops and police officers, and now merely six battalions -- down from 10, according to Gen. Peter Pace -- can function independently. That is, only 3,000 Iraqi troops are operating on their own after all this time and money.
3,000 successes out of 346,500 trainees is a staggering success rate of less than 1%. Spending $19 Billion to train 346,500 troops works out to a cost of a little over $53,000 per trainee -- which I don't see as exorbitant on the face of things, but when you factor in the 'net-net' -- the success rate of these training graduates; the fact that only 3,000 troops are operating on their own at this point is a staggering cost-per-successful result. In fact, $19 Billion divided by 3,000 works out to more than $6 Million U.S. dollars spent per successful current 'boots on the ground' Iraqi trained.
If the Republican plan is that we will maintain a high presence in Iraq until the nation's security forces can handle things on their own, it's an impossible task - absolutely impossible, and it's high time we face that fact. Despite whatever minor degree of surge successes we may be able to forge, the Iraqis are clearly incapable of managing security on their own. A 'net-net' success rate of 1% is atrocious, and it stands to reason that the success rate will lessen as we work our way down the list of qualified and capable training candidates.
It's time to call a halt to GWB's drunken-sailor spending spree in Iraq. Continuing to stay in Iraq is pointless and George W. Bush knows it. At this point he's sacrificing American soldiers' lives while he treads water until the next election. The Iraqis will never be able to police their civil war on their own, and the costs are too high for us to continue doing it for them or to try to train them to do it themselves.
Bottom line -- George Bush has set a benchmark that he knows is impossible to attain, and one that he knows will keep us in Iraq for decades, and it's costing us a bloody fortune.
The Republicans have had their chance, they've failed, and its time to to change direction.
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