Early reports regarding the New and Improved Bush Iraq plan show little more than shell game, with a dash less accountability thrown in for good measure, and a nod to concerted status quo plus.

For a while now, we’ve heard Team Bush lubricate the public with the notion that more troops in Iraq are inevitable, this despite comments from top military folks who don’t think that sending more U.S. soldiers into a civil war is such a bright idea. Now, all of a sudden, those top brass are getting their wrists measured for that golden TImex, because they are out.

(from the link)

Bush will replace Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the chief general in Iraq, in the coming weeks, according to media reports Thursday.

Abizaid and Casey have at times sounded skeptical about increasing the size of the U.S. force in Iraq.

In November, Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee that boosting the roughly 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by 20,000 would have a temporary impact, but he warned that the military’s ability to maintain in increase of that size “is simply not something that we have right now.”

Casey told reporters in Iraq last month that he is “not necessarily opposed to the idea” of sending in more troops, but said any increase would have to “help us progress to our strategic objectives.”

Shuffling in are two men who appear more inclined towards bending to the president’s foul wind. So part one of the plan is to toss out those who question and insert compliant tools.

More shuffling is happening with and old Bush family confidante, John Negroponte. His move from NID to 2nd at State is questionable, at least in terms of an “Iraq Policy” move. I’m no fan of Big John here…he has a history of being in just out in front of sectarian death squads in war torn third world countries…so don’t shed any tears at his leaving what should be an unbiased position. (A National Intelligence Director should tell a president what is real instead of fueling his boss’s fantasy filled worldviews.) This move smells more like political manuevering than anything else, tossed into the the “Iraq Plan” so as to not make waves of its own. Some are postulating that Negroponte move to State is a precursor to setting up Secretary Rice as a possible presidential candidate, the thinking going (I guess) that she could give Hillary a good run for the money. But I digress…

The President also wants to loosen the binds on descretionary funds “for reconstruction” that military commanders have control of. As if there hasn’t been enough misappropriations of funds so far. Other financial incentives Bush is pushing to convince Iraqi’s to “all just get along” include setting up a small business loan program. Perhaps that will be included in the new Balanced Budget Bush presents. (As an aside, I wonder what the budget has allotted for American small business assistance?) I guess this war just needs a little less accountability and ready cash to fix the problem.

Oh, and let’s not forget the sanest part of the plan- send in more troops! After all, if we don’t keep fighting them there (and making lots more of them by the way) they’ll be clammoring to our shores and attacking us here. Despite the fact that Bush told you he’s beefed up security around the borders and spending all that money on all that ‘security stuff.’ Funny, if we’re so much safer now, how could they even get here to fight us here? Kind of a paradox if you think about it. Oops…forgot…no thinking in the War Room.

Of course, all of this, though widely reported, is still speculative to a degree. And what the new Democratic Congress can do about any of it is still up in the air.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a grand new plan for ‘success’ folks. It’s just another shell game.

(cross posted at Bring It On!)