indicate we're bulding up to a big push against Sunni "insurgents" in Fallujah and Ramadi. The main question is the timing of any such assault. The conventional wisdom was once that Bush would wait until after the election to avoid embarrassing casualty figures (on both US and Iraqi sides) and the reminder to the public that, hey, we're STILL fighting major battles in this war 18 months later! Combine that with the leaked plans to send 20,000+ more US troops
, the new $70 bn appropriation request
, and persistent talk about a D-R-A-F-T
, and you've got the kind of political turkee the pResident doesn't like, served up ice cold in November.
[more below the fold]
But I wonder about that conventional wisdom. Certainly, facts on the ground suggest an imminent move against the insurgency. The bombing has intensified, Allawi is ramping up the PR campaign, and British reinforcements are already on the move
. Bush may be weighing the above risks against the deadly perception of inaction, and gambling that fewer people will vote against the incumbent if US forces are seen to be emphatically, actively "at war" as opposed to sitting back on their heels waiting for the next roadside bomb.
And of course, it'll end Kerry's devastating control of the news cycle and all these pesky questions about a few tons of explosives. They have to know that their last-ditch dodge ("maybe Saddam moved the weapons before we got there!") is a hanging curve ball that's just begging to be refuted straight over the center field wall by someone who was there and is willing to go on the record. Someone like this, perhaps--or maybe the original Pentagon deep throat (scroll down to "Mystery of the Lost Explosives", second paragraph). It's only a matter of time before that happens, and I'm positive Rove is itching to preempt it with Something Else.