Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Udall Watch

Udall: Tell Me What We Do When We Fail

From Mark Udall's website:

Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) today called for action on legislation he has sponsored that would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on steps it has taken to plan for contingencies in case the president’s surge policy in Iraq fails. Udall, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the White House failed to plan for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and he does not want a repeat of those planning failures after the surge, especially if the security situation there continues to deteriorate.

“Recent press reports suggest that there may not be a plan for post-surge Iraq. Americans want assurances that this administration is thinking about and planning for the unthinkable. No one wants chaos or increased violence in Iraq, but it would be irresponsible not to plan for those possibilities. While looking at Iraq through rose-colored glasses may make us feel better, we will only do right by our men and women in uniform if we plan for likely contingencies, however unpalatable. I don’t want a repeat of the performance that led the administration to launch a war in Iraq without a plan for what would come after initial military success,” said Udall.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released last month states that as Iraq’s security environment worsens, three scenarios could emerge: chaos leading to partition, the emergence of a Shia strongman, or anarchic fragmentation of power. Udall’s bill, H.R. 1183, The Iraq Contingency Planning Act, would require that by June 30, 2007, the administration inform the House and Senate Armed Services Committees how the Defense Department and other agencies would respond to each of these scenarios with an explanation of the role of U.S. troops under each scenario, including a comprehensive analysis identifying and justifying the number of U.S. troops needed in each case.

This is the man who wants to be Colorado's next Senator.

Were Udall being totally honest, he would have included the same caveat the NIE placed just before the "three scenarios language":

A number of identifiable internal security and political triggering events, including sustained mass sectarian killings, assassination of major religious and political leaders, and a complete Sunni defection from the government have the potential to convulse severely Iraq’s security environment. Should these events take place, they could spark an abrupt increase in communal and insurgent violence and shift Iraq’s trajectory from gradual decline to rapid deterioration with grave humanitarian, political, and security consequences.

Even the NIE is a strongly hedged document, that in NO WAY predicts with certainty the "three scenarios" that Udall cites in his press release.

Further, Udall selectively ignores any of the optimistic language included in the NIE:If strengthened Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), more loyal to the government and supported by Coalition forces, are able to reduce levels of violence and establish more effective security for Iraq’s population, Iraqi leaders could have an opportunity to begin the process of political compromise necessary for longer term stability, political progress, and economic recovery.

Well. . . .okay. So it's not exactly "optimistic," but it is also no more certain a scenario than the ones Udall cites. He also chooses to leave out this language, which is far more important to the overall debate:

Coalition capabilities, including force levels, resources, and operations, remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq. If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict . . .

In other words, based on cherry-picked language from the NIE, Mark Udall wants to have the Department of Defense announce to the world what its plan is for WHEN the surge fails. Which, of course, is just another way of giving the torrorists our playbook for the next phase.

This, boys and girls, is the man who wants to be your next Senator.

cross-posted at Best Destiny

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