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Tuesday, August 22, 2006 

Bush: US Stays in Iraq as Long as He is Office (Why the Sudden Change?)

In stark contrast to British policy

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain may cut its force in Iraq in half by the middle of next year after handing over security responsibility for the south to Iraqis within nine months, a senior British commander said on Tuesday.

President Bush announced that he plans to keep US forces for the remainder of his administration, citing "Leaving before the job was done would send a signal to our troops that the sacrifices they made were not worth it" as well as emboldening terrorists.

However, this attitude is starkly different from the path we were headed down just a few months ago when the Pentagon announced significant troop withdrawals by Dec. 2007.

While the White House and Congressional talking heads will all point to this as domestic politics (i.e. Bush needs to look firm, forcing Democrats to take stronger stance), I think there is something much bigger, and perhaps much more chilling involved here. Let me set the stage:

With the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, known puppet forces for the Syrian and Iranian regime, essentially the conflict between the Muslim world’s biggest stick and the Western world’s most powerful interest in the area is wide open again. Israel and Iran are both openly exchanging threats to each other now.

At the same time, we’ve gotten two major terror plots uncovered and (thankfully) averted within the last 30 days. This means that Israel and Iran really could go to open war at the slightest offense, and there are once again global plots by rogue groups intent on disrupting world affairs.

During all of this, Iran has drawn the line in the sand over their nuclear policy and developing capabilities. They’ve thumbed their noses at the UN the rest of the world, and they’ve gone a step further by fanning the flames.

Combine all this with US/South Korean military exercises that have been obviously impressive enough as to provoke threats from North Korea of attacks if we don’t back off.

Why? Why is Bush suddenly becoming a brick wall on Iraq and why are we suddenly flashing our sword at North Korea?

The US presence in Iraq is a definite thorn in the side of Iran and any plans they have for aggressive actions in the global arena. North Korea would most definitely take advantage of distractions and make some moves that would tax the abilities of the US to respond should something spark up between either Israel or the US and Iran.

Are things much tenser with Iran that anyone in the political world will admit? Or is all this really just unrelated issues coalescing at the same time?