This is interesting.
Petraeus carefully dodged a question from Sen. Hillary Clinton about what resources he was planning to deploy to Basra and over what length of time.
Clinton evidently suspected that the plan envisioned the deployment of U.S. troops on a large scale in the Shiite south, despite the fact that the Iraqi government is supposed to be responsible for security there. Petraeus responded vaguely that it was “a phased plan over the course of a number of months during which different actions were going to be pursued.”
[…] When Vice President Dick Cheney, who had previously played the “bad cop” in the George W. Bush administration’s relations with al-Maliki, visited Baghdad in mid-March, one of his objectives was to get al-Maliki to go along with the Petraeus plan to eliminate the commanding position of Sadr’s forces in Basra. Al-Maliki has told Iraqi officials that Cheney put pressure on him to go along with the Basra operation, according one Iraqi source.
[…] The Cheney visit apparently mobilised al-Maliki, but not in the way Cheney had intended.
Four days later, when Petraeus met with al-Maliki’s national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie to talk about the U.S. campaign plan for Basra, al-Rubaie warned Petraeus that al-Maliki had a different plan. Petraeus was apparently told that the operation would last from a week to 10 days — not the several months envisioned in the Petraeus plan.
A major, bloody offensive would make a great prop for bashing Democrats with. The public would obviously hate seeing more kids die, but it takes a kind of Democrat that we don’t have to go on promising withdrawal in the middle of a pitched battle. In the current political climate a shooting battle, even one that we’re losing (maybe especially one that we’re losing) could do wonders for a hawkish Republican candidate.
And when would that battle take place? The story said that Petraeus planned to begin around mid-summer. It also said that the operation would take a few months. Mid-summer, plus a few months, puts us in…October. Surprise!