The additional 21-thousand troops are headed for Iraq and billions of dollars may follow. But is the President's plan really "moving forward"?
UW Mideast expert Jon Pevehouse says the biggest tactical change in the plan is what those additional troops will be allowed to do. The previous restrictions put in place by the Iraqi government will be lifted. Which means US troops can now go into insurgent controlled neighborhoods originally put off limits.
Pevehouse says the success of this plan depends on Iraqi readiness and right now he says they are not. Security forces may be farther along than they were six months ago but Pevehouse believes they are not as ready as they need to be.
And the other question Pevehouse has is whether the billions of dollars in rebuilding funds will go to the right places. According to a Congressional budget study, much of the millions already poured into Iraq has either been embezzled, carried off by American and foreign contractors or simply just disappeared. Pevehouse says that corruption has to be cleaned up or it will be like "throwing money down a black hole".
And that, he says, is where Congress might step in. He doesn't think lawmakers will cut off funds for troops but they still have the power of the purse to say no to reconstruction funds.