So long, "stand up, stand down"?

A report says the military has abandoned the training of Iraqis as its primary mission.

Published April 20, 2007 1:11PM (EDT)

At a speech in Virginia in July 2005, George W. Bush said his Iraq strategy could be "summed up" this way: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down, and then our troops can come home to a proud and grateful nation." He would come to use the "stand up, stand down" formulation so often that it eventually came to be known by its shorthand version: "The 'stand up, stand down' still holds," the president said in September 2006, "and so does the policy of me listening to our commanders to give me the judgment necessary for troop levels."

Well, not anymore.

Just as Bush stopped listening to the commanders on the ground on the subject of troop levels, his administration has now apparently jettisoned "stand up, stand down" as its primary mission in Iraq. As McClatchy Newspapers is reporting, military planners have "abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces."

A Pentagon spokesman tells McClatchy's Nancy Youssef that the military is simply "adding another leg" to its mission in Iraq. But Youssef says officials have told her that training of Iraqis has dropped as a priority for the military, and she notes that the president's plans for a "surge" in Iraq don't include additional resources for training.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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