So Bush is considering a plan to "double down" in Iraq "with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government."
Meanwhile, "At least two-thirds of Army units in the United States today are rated as not ready to deploy -- lacking in manpower, training and, most critically, equipment -- according to senior U.S. officials and the Iraq Study Group report. The two ground services estimate that they will need $18 billion a year to repair, replace and upgrade destroyed and worn-out equipment," and "'We are concerned about gross readiness . . . and ending equipment and personnel shortfalls,' said a senior Marine Corps official. The official added that Marine readiness has dropped and that the Corps is unable to fulfill many planned missions for the fight against terrorism."
On top of that a defense specialist, "who requested anonymity because the discussions were private" is saying that it will be impossible to follow the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group because there's no way that the Iraqis will be ready: "The message to Bush, the defense specialist said, is that the U.S. cannot withdraw a substantial number of combat troops by early 2008, as suggested in the Iraq Study Group report, because the Iraqis will not be ready to assume control of their country. Bush is delaying making public his new Iraq policy plan in part to allow officials to work out the funding, he said."
Add to that the fact that "Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according to American and Arab diplomats," and that "Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, has abruptly resigned after 15 months on the job, an embassy official said Tuesday."
It becomes hardly surprising that Bush has decided to delay his speech on his big new strategy for Iraq until after the holidays.
If he wasn't personally responsible for tens of thousands of death resulting from his Iraq misadventure, you'd almost have to feel sorry for the guy.