Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

"A BROAD, CONDITIONS-BASED TIMETABLE"....The fine folks at Newsweek have gotten hold of a draft copy of the national reconciliation plan soon to be announced by Iraq's new Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Among other things, it will ask for a firm U.S. withdrawal plan to be enforced by a United Nations resolution:

The plan also calls for a withdrawal timetable for coalition forces from Iraq, but it doesn't specify an actual date one of the Sunnis' key demands. It calls for "the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq's security," and asks that a U.N. Security Council decree confirm the timetable. Mahmoud Othman, a National Assembly member who is close to President Talabani, said that no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable.

....[A] senior coalition military official, who agreed to discuss this subject with Newsweek and The Times of London on the condition of anonymity, notably did not outright rule out the idea of a date. "One of the advantages of a timetable all of a sudden there is a date which is a much more explicit thing than an abstract condition," he said. "That's the sort of assurance that [the Sunnis] are looking for."

"Does that mean the subject of a date is up for negotiation?" he was asked. "I think that if men of goodwill sit down together and exchange ideas, which might be defined either by a timetable or by ... sets of conditions, there must be a capacity to find common ground," the official said.

Did you get that? No one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable.

President Bush would be flatly insane to turn this opportunity down. It's precisely the kind of request he needs in order to declare victory, assure everyone that the job is close to done, and make it clear that he respects Iraqi sovereignty and doesn't plan to occupy their country forever. There would be no loss of face and no loss of national honor.

Conversely, if he resists it, it would be hard not to conclude that he was doing so solely because a "broad, conditions-based timetable" also happens to be exactly the position of the vast majority of the Democratic Party and he would rather chew off his own big toe than do anything that might turn down the volume on the domestic partisan jihad that's been so politically successful for Republicans ever since 9/11. I guess we'll find out soon.

Kevin Drum 3:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (171)

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Comments

There's a pretty big difference between a US-proposed timetable and an Iraqi one. The first sends the message that we are not willing to see this struggle through to the end and/or have no faith in the Iraqi government. Accepting the second would send the opposite message; that we respect Iraq's sovereignty and that they are, ultimately, in control of their own future. Bush should accpet the plan while at the same time making it clear that we would be willing to stay if the nation of Iraq changed its mind.

Posted by: Mario on June 24, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush would be flatly insane to turn this opportunity down.

Yeah, and...?

He can't agree to this - this is Iraq cutting and running!

Posted by: craigie on June 24, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bush does want to stay for the rest of his administration. Leaving=losing in his mind. If he's clever, he'll finesse the whole thing with months, if not years, of negotiations over the timetable. Then the terms of the timetable will be so vague, it will be difficult to tell when they're met. Then he will be out of office and the whole thing will be sonme other shlub's problem.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on June 24, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

and he would rather chew off his own big toe than do anything that might turn down the volume on the domestic partisan jihad that's been so politically successful for Republicans ever since 9/11.

By the way, in case any conservatarians care, this is precisely why I am a Bush hater. He could have used 9/11 to unite the country, but instead specifically and deliberatly chose to use it to aid the Republican party.

Union bashing in the dept of homeland security, anyone? This war isn't about democracy or oil or terrorism - it's about holding power in the US by shouting "treason" at every opportunity.

Fuck him, and fuck them.

Posted by: craigie on June 24, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Conversely, if he resists it, it would be hard not to conclude that he was doing so solely because a "broad, conditions-based timetable" also happens to be exactly the position of the vast majority of the Democratic Party...

Or to conclude that certain parties never plan to leave. We should not attribute this disinclination to depart Iraq solely to domestic politics. "Cutting and running" is a useful club to use domestically, but on a global powermongering scale, they have reasons to stay as well.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 24, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help but notice that Kevin is back to supporting anonymous sources. Anyway, this is a good opportunity. A negotiated timetable sounds like a win for everybody. I can't help but notice that it will also be good for the republican party, because when this works, it'll prove that Bush was right to try to bring democracy to the middle east all along. Curiously, the Democrats not-so-secretly cheering for the US to lose has resulted in the situation where anything Iraq related is good for the GOP, because the left simply can't be trusted with it.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 24, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi sponsored "cut and run" strategy...Wow...! I guess the new government isn't playing by "the book"

Posted by: Cyby on June 24, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush would be flatly insane to turn this opportunity down.

Except that they have repeatedly staked out their partisan political position that any timetable is a victory for the terrorists and a defeatest approach. If you buy what Karl Rove and Andrew Sullivan recently said, a timetable means all you have left is hoping for catastrophe or is that only if the Democrats support it?

Posted by: Catch22 on June 24, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. This is the first sign of hope from Iraq in a long time. The Shia and Kurdish leaders seem serious about brining the country together, although absent a firm date for withdrawal, I question whether Sunni will embrace it (to say nothing of Bush). One of the problems for the Democrats is that among the "other things" that Kevin refers to is a provision, "Recognizing the legitimacy of the national resistance and differentiating or separating it from terrorism." Got that? It doesn't merely grant amnesty to people who have killed Americans, it's grants them legitimacy. No American politician will accept this, so my question is: will it be possible to support the withdrawal provision while rejecting the "resistance" provision or will they get lumped together, allowing Bush to oppose the reconciliation plan.

Posted by: david mizner on June 24, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

dj moonbat gets it...
"Or to conclude that certain parties never plan to leave."
It is the REAL cause for this 'war' ... enduring bases, projection of power in the M.E. - without stepping on Bandar's toes.
Don't. you. get. it. yet?

Posted by: satan on June 24, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

I predicted this six months ago, that the left would be declaring victory in Iraq when the gradual withdrawal begins. For all of you mental midgets, this is so consistent with what GW has been saying since the beginning, that when the Iraqi's stand up, we will stand down. A conditions based withdrawal plan is exactly the same thing, whhen the Iraq's are ready we will go home.

If you think that the voting public will somehow be hoodwinked into thinking that the left made this happen, you're all more stupid than I previously thought. And that says a lot.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush would be flatly insane to turn this opportunity down

What leads you to believe the President is the person who would make this call? The Vice-President and his handlers just the other day told you that any timetable equates to the white flag of surrender.

Chicken-hawks never put up a white flag...it may cost them an election or two...

Posted by: justmy2 on June 24, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't a halfway competent Democratic party seize on this? "See, the Iraqi government agrees with us, there needs to be a withdrawal plan and not this vague 'stay the course' stuff. We've offered two plans, the Republicans have killed them - we're the party that can work with the Iraqis to successfully conclude the war and bring the troops home."

Posted by: Ted on June 24, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The left knows very well that they lost miserably on the Iraq issue and are now trying like hell to save face by trying to establish a withdrawal plan that sounds different than GW's and attempting to do an about face on supporting the Iraqi democracy. Rememeber, it wasn't too long ago that the left said that democracy would never work in the ME, specifically Iraq.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

The reason Bush went into Iraq is to establish a permanent presence there. Period. It's going to be very interesting to see how they try to get around this agreement. Because they will not abandon their goal, no matter what.

It'll be fun watching their true agenda unmasked.

Posted by: jim p on June 24, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Maliki plan: cut and stay.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 24, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

No, cragie. The left has used 9/11 to bash everything about America and GW that they possibly could. Harboring deep resentment that they are no longer the party in power, the left has resorted to throwing a temper tantrum.

The entire far left are nothing more than children with no vision, no core values, no optimism, no platform and no integrity. Hopefully they'll grow up one day.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Recognizing the legitimacy of the national resistance and differentiating or separating it from terrorism." Got that? It doesn't merely grant amnesty to people who have killed Americans, it's grants them legitimacy.

Uh...19 Republican Senators already voted for this position? What makes you think they will back off now?

Posted by: justmy2 on June 24, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, are you 13 years old? You sound like one of those bitter teen GOP virgins who has to wear a tie to school guaranteeing a girl will not talk to you.

Posted by: Yaj on June 24, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Unable to debate the points made, because they are all true, Yaj resorts to personal attacks and exemplifies someone who is more stupid than I thought. Well done Yaj.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Bush could decide tomorrow to withdraw all US forces out of Iraq pronto and the Bushists would simply re-initialize their hard drives to forget everything they ever said about "Cutting and runing."

It'll be like the Dept of Homeland Security all over again. Remember Bush initially opposed that - and so did his amen chorus. Then Bush changed his mind - and not only did Bushists do a complete about-face, they retroactively decided it had been his idea in the first place.

Bushists have no rudders. Their only guiding light is Bush - and that, only because he perfectly embodies their own love of bombast, bragadoccio, and bullies.

Posted by: CaseyL on June 24, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Did you get that? No one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable.

The disagreement occurs when you resolve the phrase "conditions-based timetable". Do the conditions have to preced the times, or can the times precede the conditions? If the former, you have Bush's plan; if the latter you have Kerry's (more or less). And of course, there is the detail of the list of conditions in the former case, andthe list of times in the latter case.

Hoepfully, the Iraqis will now debate these details in their media and in their legislature.

Posted by: republicrat on June 24, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the many faces of the hack troll.

I can't help but notice that Kevin is back to supporting anonymous sources.

Translation: Here's an opportunity to smear a liberal for no apparent reason for some imagined offense and see if it sticks.

Anyway, this is a good opportunity. A negotiated timetable sounds like a win for everybody.

Translation - Scholars differ, but take your pick from:
This was our idea all along. We never said we were against a timetable. We just never knew the Iraqis were interested in it. When we heard the Iraqi vice president and president had asked for one a couple weeks ago, we just figured that was the MSM being unfair and unbalanced. I mean, consider the source, people!
OR
This negotiated timetable is sensible, unlike your idea of a negotiated timetable leading to a cut-and-run.

I can't help but notice that it will also be good for the republican party, because when this works, it'll prove that Bush was right to try to bring democracy to the middle east all along. Curiously, the Democrats not-so-secretly cheering for the US to lose has resulted in the situation where anything Iraq related is good for the GOP, because the left simply can't be trusted with it.

Translation: In fact, I'll go so far as to say this new-fangled idea of a negotiated timetable goes farther than merely a retreat. It is, in fact, God's hand on earth. It is democracy in action and further proof that He has anointed Us as His messengers. Unlike your "cut-and-run" negotiated timetable.

Posted by: zeeeej on June 24, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

"The left knows very well that they lost miserably on the Iraq issue and are now trying like hell to save face by trying to establish a withdrawal plan that sounds different than GW's and attempting to do an about face on supporting the Iraqi democracy."


Thanks, Jay. I was worried GW didn't have a clue, let alone a plan.

And I was worried Bush had lost support of the American people. Guess I can disregard all these polls:

http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

Must be the work of America-haters...

I'm relieved...

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 24, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I would pay good money to watch President Bush chew off his own big toe. GOOD money.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 24, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Desperation is setting in on the left. Whenever we begin to come home (again, because of the success of the Iraqi gov't and military) the left will attempt to frame it as Cutting and running. They are soooo predictable.

btw, DHS is mainly another huge gov't beauracracy proposed by the left that was initially opposed by GW and still opposed by many conservatives. FEMA use to be a fairly agile agency until it was put inder the DHS umbrella. However, it is still NOT DESIGNED to be a first responder. Many on the left still fail to recognize that. Of course they fail to recognize even their own party members (lieberman) so why should I be surprised.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes friend, you should disregard the polls considering your huge embarassments of relying on those polls in '00, '02, and '04. I would think you would have learned that by now.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

chimpy aint leavin iraq. they went for the oil and they are NOT leaving under ANY circumstances.

They have build 17 PERMANENT MILIARY BASES there.

oh

and he aint leavin office in 2008 either

Posted by: marblex on June 24, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute here. Do I see Republicans discussing and supporting WITHDRAWL PLANS now? Is this part of the Bush playbook? The Dems offer proposals for withdrawl, hinging on the idea that Iraqis need to take control of their own affairs and Republicans vote against it. Now, Iraqis propose a withdrawl plan--one that, if you read the article, Americans over there are somewhat predisposed to--and Republicans are all for it. Talk about face saving garbage.

Is it all just pure politics, or is it just me?

Posted by: KC on June 24, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to know the polls are nothing but a pack of lies, or worse - products of liberal bias.

As I recall, polls in '00, '02, '04 were all within the margin of error (and of course, Gore did win the popular vote); but these half-dozen polls show disapproval outpacing approval (on Bush's handling of the war) by a range of 15% to 28%. I'm happy I can just toss them out.

I'm not sure what gives you such a sense of certainty, but perhaps you could bottle it and get it patented.

Lets hear it for the silent majority!

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 24, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

KC read my earlier posts. GW has had a withdrawal plan from the begining, remember? "When the Iraqi's stand up, we will stand down." That IS a broad conditions based withdrawal plan and is exactly what Maliki is saying, that when he feels they are standing up, we will come home.

I knew six months ago that when this happened, the left would try to frame it as their victory. Pathetic really.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Here's Jay:

Slogans are reality. Deal with it.

Posted by: KC on June 24, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

The silent majority is not your friend; much more conservative than you think. LOL.

There were polls that were all over the map in those aforementioned years. The polls that the left used to refer to were those claiming a sure victory for Gore/Dem. Representatives/Kerry. (of course the right would use the opposite polls) Point is the left leans on the polls far too much and far too often. Remember the '04 "exit" polls, hell Kerry was writing his acceptance speech and I will point out GW won the popular vote by more than 3.5 million (not the 500,000 Gore won by).

I take all polls with a huge grain of salt, there is too much inherent bias. Though if you like polls, wait til you see the polls for GW when our troops are back home and Iraq is standing on its own.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jay,

"When the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down" is a catchphrase. An example of a plan would be: "When the Iraqis are capable of this specific thing, we will withdraw this specific number of troops."

I've heard no such thing from any Republican in Washington.

Posted by: zeeeej on June 24, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, talk about not being able to stick to the topic. What does exit polls have to do with anything?

You take FAR too many cues from talk radio hosts in your pathetic attempts at debate. Just because you talk louder and faster does not make your arguement more valid.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

The White House is already hinting at rejecting this plan and at least one Iraqi official has said there is no "finite" timetable being proposed:

Will Maliki Call for a Withdrawl Timetable?

.

Posted by: WPB on June 24, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Though if you like polls, wait til you see the polls for GW when our troops are back home and Iraq is standing on its own.

And wait until you see the polls when Cheney's hand-chosen team of Italian-shotgun-toting commandos locates and takes out the Al Qaeda Zombie Brigade guarding the underground bunker full of WMDs!

Posted by: zeeeej on June 24, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I am surprised they haven't told you that by now zeeeej. Because that's the type of specific information the jihadists could act on. You should write your representative and tell him that YOU want more specific information.

It is a broad "conditions" based plan and those "conditions" have measurements, they're just not widely known for reasons that should be obvious.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Does sarin gas not register on your radar? Granted it's an old story and there were only 500 shells, but that is technically WMD. 500 shells of mustard gas can kill A LOT of people.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The question of whether the Bush admin will accept these proposals is moot. The insurgents will not accept the proposals unless the constitution that sells off Iraq's resources is rescinded. Since there is no hope that the present government of Iraq will negotiate on these terms, the proposals are doomed from the start.

Posted by: bblog on June 24, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

No, cragie. The left has used 9/11 to bash everything about America and GW that they possibly could. Harboring deep resentment that they are no longer the party in power, the left has resorted to throwing a temper tantrum.

Ha! I get it now - "Jay" is a Turing machine. But it doesn't pass the test!

It all makes sense now...

Posted by: craigie on June 24, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

How is anyone louder on a blogsite?

I'll try and keep it down.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

But intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitive nature, said the weapons were produced before the 1991 Gulf War and there is no evidence to date of chemical munitions manufactured since then. They said an assessment of the weapons concluded they are so degraded that they couldn't now be used as designed.

They probably would have been intended for chemical attacks during theIran -Iraq War, said David Kay, who headed the U.S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq from 2003 until early 2004.

He said experts on Iraq's chemical weapons are in "almost 100 percent agreement" that sarin nerve agent produced from the 1980s would no longer be dangerous.

"It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point," Kay said.

And any of Iraq's 1980s-era mustard would produce burns, but it is unlikely to be lethal, Kay said.

Asked about the potential danger to U.S. troops, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said: "They are weapons of mass destruction. They are harmful to human beings. And they have been found."

The newly declassified military intelligence report was released Wednesday by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. Santorum and Hoekstra had urged him to release report this week during congressional debates on Iraq.
The senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee questioned the timing of the report's release. "What worries me is that the intelligence community Ambassador Negroponte in particular may be playing a partisan role in the 2006 election," California Rep. Jane Harman

article here

Posted by: Burgman on June 24, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, most kids are outside playing today, with their families and friends and, oops, sorry, nevermind...I forgot, my apologies

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Mario's comment up top the thread, that this proposal coming from the Iraqis is different than coming from us, and is A Good Thing.

But I also wanted to mention that the term "conditions-based timetable" is a stupid one. Is it conditions-based? Or time-based?

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 24, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just witnessed left spin, congratulations burgman. It's no secret that those shells were old, expired and probably worthless nor is it any debate that this is a "new" story, I believe having been found months ago. However, sarin gas IS WMD and 500 shelss could kill a lot of people.

This is an example of the left trying to save face after having painted themselves in a corner by screaming about the absence of WMD for years. And is the same has them trying to claim partial victory in Iraq by calling the conditions based plan "cut and run". Pathetic really.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

The phrase "mentally ill" just begins to scratch the surface with Jay here.

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 24, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I've been travelling of late so the unified Republican opposition to any kind of time-table for withdrawal seems to have come out of the blue. Last I checked--a couple of weeks ago--the Republicans were squabbling among themselves almost as badly as the Democrats.

Then, suddenly, a new steely resolve emerges: the Republicans will not absolutely never, ever "cut and run"! New claims are made that link Iraq and Al Qaeda. Suddenly, we again hear that the US has found WMD! GWB takes a surprise photo op to Baghdad.

Curious minds wonder where all this energy is coming from.

So I ask myself, what are the odds that the Iraqi government could draft a national reconciliation plan calling for US withdrawal without Bushco being fully aware of it???

In other words, the new Republican resolve is political posturing based on foreknowledge. They score political points by working themselves into a lather of resolve, and then score bonus points by graciously acceding to the request to withdraw made by the Democratically elected, fully functioning Iraqi government. You see, we told you that "Freedom is on the March!!"

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 24, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jay says that "When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." It has been over three years and one Iraqi company is able to stand on their own. How long should the U.S. wait? Five years? Do I hear ten years? How about twenty or fifty years? Or is the wait never ending? Ther have been over 2500 Americans killed in a war that was based on the premise that a third world country actually posed some kind of legitimate threat, via WMD, to this country. That allegation has been proven to be demonstrably false. What has not been proven to be false is that there are over 18,000 Americans grievously wounded in this idiotic occupation of Iraq, with many of them returning to this country missing an arm and/or a leg, suffering a fractured skull, paralyzed from the waist down, third degree burns over their body, eyes which can no longer see, psychological trauma brought about by the horror of war. This, apparently, is quite acceptable to Jay as long as the Iraqis still do not have the ability to "stand up". It is long past the point for U.S. troops to return to this country unharmed and for the Iraqis to control their own destiny. As Congressman Murtha has repeatedly taken pains to point out, along with such independent journalists such as Dahr Jamail and Nir Rosen, it is the presence of the belligerent U.S. military that is roiling the insurgents. As Rosen, who has spent close to two years in Iraq, has pointed out in a 2005 issue of The Atlantic, "If the occupation were to end, so, too, would the insurgency. After al, what the resistance movement has been resisting is the occupation. Who would the insurgents fight if the enemy left?" All the more reason to bring those troops home as rapidly as possible.

Posted by: Erroll on June 24, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Understand something: What Maliki will propose is entirely different than the Bush approach -- including Casey's new drawdown plans that are just up on the NYT website. That approach is conditions-based.

Maliki's approach is a *hard* timetable, guaranteed by the UN and unconditional. It is close in spirit to Kerry's proposal, and probably would receive strong support from the Iraqi public.

Whether he can sit down and hammer this out with all the factions is another matter, of course -- but don't confuse this with the Bush/GOP "conditions-based" (read: open-ended) committment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jay is the most pathetic troll I've ever seen on this site. He can't seem to stay on topic or figure out what he's trying to say. Not surprising for a middle school kid, but very much out of place here.

Hush, now, Jay. Adults are speaking.

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that the Iraqi Army is NOT ready now, nor will they likely ever be ready to operate without US forces leading the fight against the Sunni insurgency. US forces are still doing the lions share of the heavy lifting over there. Iraqi Army operations of more PR than anything else... The Iraqi government is actually pretty impotent everywhere but the Green Zone, lawlessness and sectarian violence are on the increase throughout Iraq, even in areas once deemed 'safe', i.e. Basra. The Sunni insurgency will not stop fighting until they achieve what they consider victory (basically a Sunni dominated Iraq once again) because to them death is preferable to being relegated to 2nd-class status with no economic or political clout... Iraq is basically a house of cards without US forces. Thats the reality

Posted by: 82ndAbnVet on June 24, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jay is the most pathetic troll I've ever seen on this site.

That's because he is a write-only program. It doesn't much matter what you say - "Jay" can't read or process it. It just squawks out the talking points, interspersed with "bwak! Polly wants a cracker! Baawk!"

Posted by: craigie on June 24, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless of what Bush's initial goals were, things have gone so badly that I can't imagine that he could pass up on this golden opportunity to declare victory and cut and run. Al-Maliki gets to buy himself some goodwill, some time, and some credibility as the person who is getting the Americans to leave, and the political process is seen to accomplish more than endless street-fighting and suicide-bombing. No actual dates are fixed so al-Maliki doesn't actually have to forego American support just yet. If this actually works to bring a reasonable end to the Iraq mess, then it's worthwhile, even if Bush wins some unearned credit as a result.

Posted by: N.Wells on June 24, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am surprised they haven't told you that by now zeeeej. Because that's the type of specific information the jihadists could act on. You should write your representative and tell him that YOU want more specific information.

It is a broad "conditions" based plan and those "conditions" have measurements, they're just not widely known for reasons that should be obvious.

Oh, it's a secret plan! So secret it's hidden in a place impossible to find - with the WMDs.

Let's see if I got this right:

Bush is expertly implementing a well-designed exit strategy, only I don't know about it, even though I feel entitled to it as a liberal. Nobody else does either, but they don't dare ask because it might empower the jihadists. Not me though; I want the plan so I can reveal its every detail to the world because I hate Bush and by extension America (because real Americans love Bush) and therefore want all of our troops to die horrible deaths.

The White House has no plan for Iraq, beyond slogans. They were convinced they could flip off the rest of the world and get away with it. It didn't work. Now they will allow our country to suffer any damage to its economy, its military, its unity and its reputation, as long as it means they won't risk looking weak as a consequence. They will call this strategy "Stay the Course."

Most Americans realize this on some level. But you're too busy in your GOP jersey and elephant hat cheering them on to notice.

Posted by: zeeeej on June 24, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

if he resists it, it would be hard not to conclude that he was doing so solely because a "broad, conditions-based timetable" also happens to be exactly the position of the vast majority of the Democratic Party and he would rather chew off his own big toe than do anything that might turn down the volume on the domestic partisan jihad that's been so politically successful for Republicans

It's already hard not to conclude that.

Posted by: Gregory on June 24, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Also, what craigie said at 3:58 PM.

Posted by: Gregory on June 24, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

82ndAbnVet:

Well, the iraqi government is pretty impotent in the Green Zone as well ...

I think you're marginally wrong, though. The Sunni insurgency *is* losing a little steam; what's happening is that the conflict is widening into an endless vicious cycle of vengance killings -- like the execution of one of Saddam's defense lawyers by the (Shi'ite, Mokatada-controlled) Mahdi Army, and the bombing yesterday of a Sunni mosque.

If it simply were a matter of delegitimating a single faction that's causing all the trouble -- say, the tikfiris inspired by Zarqawi, or even these combined with the Sunni rejectionists -- it might actually be possible to win this thing militarily.

In about 10 or 15 years, like with most insurgencies that pan out for the occupying power ...

But it's not. It's becoming every day a bit more like Bosnia -- and the more that happens, the more our military presence supporting a Shi'ite-controlled government becomes counterproductive.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mokatada = Moktada

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

and he would rather chew off his own big toe

Too Jonah Lucianne Golbergian (non)humor.

Posted by: nut on June 24, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Joe Biden (not that I'm a huge fan or anything) summed it up beautifully:

The GOP is totally united behind a failed policy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I agree, as long as the timetable is less than a year.

Posted by: Matt on June 24, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Even if those 500 decaying mustard gas and sarin shells were anything more than old news -- i.e. even if they were still usable (which nobody believes they are) -- there's a still a big question whether chemical weapons, nasty as they are, truly qualify as being called weapons of mass destruction.

They're battlefield munitions. Their effects are not pleasant -- but so is, umm, being shelled with white phosphorus (where, you know, your skin melts off your body) or napalm. But once discharged, their effects don't linger.

Weaponized anthrax, botulism, smallpox -- even a bunch of medical radwaste stuffed around an artillery shell -- are what qualify as bona-fide WMD. They hang around in the environment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we assume the Bush/Cheney administration wants to withdraw from Iraq?

It's a bottomless sinkhole into which they can throw taxpayer dollars, many of which go to their friends and clients in private industry, while all the while saddling the government with increasingly insupportable debt, which makes those pesky Social Security and Medicare programs less and less viable as time goes on.

End result is, the politically-connected rich get richer, average Americans get worse off, and it goes on indefinitely. A Republican's dream.

One fatal mistake in analyzing Republican action is to to assume that Republicans, in common with most other Americans, want to see their country succeed. They do not. The only concern of Republicans is that they hold power and that their contributors get richer. If the country has to go down the tubes in order to abet those goals, Republicans don't care.

Why get out of Iraq when the ongoing quagmire is making so many Republican-connected firms rich?

Posted by: vanessa on June 24, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

There would be no loss of face and no loss of national honor.

Unfortunately, this is not a matter of saving face or maintaining honor. Iraq is and will be a disaster no matter what the United States now does or does not do.

Those who say that staying in Iraq would be a disaster are correct. However, those who say 'cut and running' would be a disaster are also correct.

It is much like arguing whether Napoleon, in 1812, was correct in retreating from Moscow ( cut and running ) or whether he should have toughed it out ( stay the course ).

Posted by: Thinker on June 24, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

vanessa:

While these sorts of views are always tempting (like the notion that the Bush Administration knew about 9/11 beforehand and chose not to do anything about it), I've never been able to get quite so cynical about what motivates Bush and the GOP. Remember, KBR (the division of Haliburton in Iraq) has been losing money since the war began, and Halliburton's been trying to sell it off. My read is more modest, and here are some of the main factors that I believe are motivating them:

1) A profound lack of understanding about both the Mideast and what it takes to allow democracy to flourish.

2) A grotesquely arrogant sense of American exceptionalism -- that no matter what happens, we're always the good guys in the world.

3) A belief that being the world's only superpower liberates us from playing by international rules -- because rules are written for the weaker parties.

4) A need to secure the Iraqi oil supply for the immediate future -- not to "steal it" from Iraqis but to make it available on the world market -- because of impending Peak Oil.

5) A sense at this point that to begin to disengage will dishonor the sacrifice of all those killed in the war, not to mention to declare all the billions of dollars spent wasted. (This is the same dynamic that keeps completely hopeless pork barrel projects going, btw.)

6) Bill Clinton's chesnut (which may be less true than we all seem to think) that the American people prefer a policy that's "strong and wrong" to one that's "weak and right" (not that I personally believe that a firm anti-Iraq war position is weak -- especially if it's unpopular).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

I find it odd too, that this Newsweek story comes out the same day the NYTimes reports that General Casey is discussing troop draw downs. Boy, are those Dems all about cutting and running!

Posted by: KC on June 24, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

KC:

Well, again, remember that the distinction is between a conditional drawdown which might never happen if the violence never recedes and the ISF don't get their acts together (Bush, Casey, GOP) and an unconditional withdrawal to take the training wheels off the Iraqi government and allow it to develop popular legitimacy (Maliki, Kerry).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why should we believe the Iraqis will "stand up" any more than the South Vietnamese "stood up?" Sorry, folks, but the history of the Middle East does not give me a damn bit of confidence that any of this will turn out in some predictable fashion.....10 years from now we will still be dealing with the side-effects of this little experiment.....

Posted by: Riccardo on June 24, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

82ndAbnVet: "Iraq is basically a house of cards without US forces. That's the reality."

That's what I believe as well. This reality continues to be the problem, with or without withdrawal plans. If the US leaves a power vacuum, then the house of cards fall down in a very messy way. Or the US stays with no end in sight, and that is just as messy.

So what do you make of the rumors of the the Maliki proposal? One of my speculations is that the Shiite's want the US out exactly because the US forces are preventing a bloodbath. The new government offers "anmesty" to the Sunnis--if they don't accept, then the Shiite government can crack down on the Sunnis in as vicious and bloodbathy a way as they want, possibly with Iranian support.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 24, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi sponsored "cut and run" strategy...Wow...! I guess the new government isn't playing by the Bushie "book"

Posted by: Cyby on June 24, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is important to note, as the following passage from the Times article makes clear, that BushCo, through Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad, had a hand in the negotiating this deal.

It builds on months of secret talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the Iraqi President, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.

I see three possibilities as to whether this is a deal that BushCo wanted. The first possibility is that Khalilzad struck the deal on his own and against BushCo policy. I think this is unlikely since he has strong Neocon credentials: doctorate in political science University of Chicago, worked under Wolfowitz in Reagan and Bush I, signed the open letter to Clinton from the PNAC, worked with Cheney during Gulf War I,..

The second possibility is that BushCo sees the writing on the wall and wants to withdrawal. This deal gives them the cover they need. However, this is hard to reconcile with BushCos construction of permanent bases in Iraq.

This leads to the third possibility which is Khalilzad couldnt control the terms of the deal. If this is the case, it would shed new light on Bushs sneak trip to Baghdad. He may have tried to head off the deal by going face to face with the Iraqis.

Cheney and John Boltons reactions to the deal will tell us if it is door two or door three. I am pretty sure its not door one, but if it is, their reaction will be the same as if it is door three.

Posted by: rege on June 24, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

"anything Iraq related is good for the GOP"

Boy, that's some mighty good analysis there, Mr. American Hawk! Your job at Fox News awaits.

Posted by: Red on June 24, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry I haven't addressed you earlier zeeej but the left begins to sound like a broken record and I tend nod off after a while.

"The WH has no plan for Iraq........"

OK maybe I am the only one who watched three successful elections form the current permanently elected gov't who wrote and voted on the countries new constitution, Saddam on trial and the recruitment and training of what is now a 250,000+ military/security force soon capable enough that our troops will be heading home.

What was your plan again?

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

I don't know if it breaks down quite that cleanly. I think the extent of ordinary Iraqis wanting us to leave soon breaks down according to whether our military is being a help or a hindrance in their local security situation, and that not only varies widely by region, but also according to our shifting tactical deployments.

I think that Iraqis *in government* generally by and large support our presence, because we're the only force capable of providing security in the Green Zone and the ministry areas of Baghdad. To the extent that you have your life invested in being a bureaucrat is a bigger variable than what sect you are in whether you support us.

I think by and large there are more Shia as a percentage who support the occupation than Sunnis, because our overall goal is supporting a government that's largely Shia. Sestani has been more supportive of the occupation than any Sunni imam.

This being said, there are certainly Sunni *areas* that currently depend on us to protect them from Shi'ite reprisal killings -- but that varies by locale and depends on the specific security situation. Still, *that* being said, I think it's fair to say that the largely Sunni Anbar Provence remains the most anti-US region of Iraq.

I don't think the militias -- Sunni, Shi'ite or Kurd -- support us much if at all. They feel they don't need us to protect them, and we're their strongest check on their power. I think the insurgency is split into two camps. I think whether Iraqi patriots or Sunni rejectionists, they legitimately want us to leave, the sooner the better -- both for the good reason that this is the natural reaction of a patriot to an occupation and the bad reason that their particular sect wants to dominate the country. I see the religious side of the insurgency -- especially the foreign fighters -- as paradoxically wanting us to stay as long as possible, because that serves their long-term goal of building a revolutionary Islamist movement by providing Iraq with a non-Islamic bogeyman.

So in sum: If you're a Kurd, you want us gone, tomorrow if not sooner. If you're a Shi'ite, you reluctantly tolerate our check on your militias because you know the country will be yours soon enough. If you're a Sunni, you're put in the horrible double-bind of needing us for protection while feeling the most humiliated by the occupation because it overthrew your former status as top dog.

If you're an Islamist fanatic -- or a common criminal, for that matter -- you simply thrive on the chaos the occupation creates.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

" ... soon capable enough ... "

Your 'plan' is based on wishful thinking.

The security forces have morphed into the new insurgency.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1:

Your analygsis is grim, but it sounds plausible. What a terrible, terrible mess, eh? And to think that Bushco and its fanatics claim THIS is progress in the WOT.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 24, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1's analysis is nothing more than one elites negative opinion of a people he deems incapable of peacefully governing themselves. This would also be another attempt of rmck1 saving face considering his previous posts claiming US efforts in Iraq to be an utter failure.

Well with Zarqawi dead, a permanent gov't in place, a military/security force gaining strength (notice rmck1's complete lack of confidence in their ability), and our troops soon to be gradually withdrawing, Iraq may be an utter victory.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

and he aint leavin office in 2008 either
Posted by: marblex

I agree. I bet he won't leave until sometime around ohhhh...January 20th of 2009.

On a somewhat more serious note, if a representative Iraqi government asks us to leave, how can we reasonably refuse?

Posted by: Brian on June 24, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, how many elections did they have in South Vietnam? How big (on paper) was the ARVN? Did any of it matter in the real world?

Posted by: Red on June 24, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

First, Thanks muchly for mistaking me for a member of the "elite." Pretty heady compliment if you knew anything about my life :)

Mainly, though, I'd like you to riddle me this:

If the Iraqis are so capable of "peacefully governing themselves," they why, pray tell, are we occupying their country in the first place?

Of course if you got to the bottom of *that* one, your head would explode -- but seeing how it's so pointy, the mess would doubtless be well-contained :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

al-Maliki will disown this plan. If he refuses, several of his family members will disappear. Their corpses will be discovered later by American troops. Their deaths will appear to be the work of insurgents.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on June 24, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

What was your plan again?

My plan is to do whatever I can to put actual patriots in Congress and the White House.

Posted by: zeeeej on June 24, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

On a less facetious note, of course I believe that the Iraqis are capable of peacefully governing themselves.

Why do you think I support a firm timetable for withdrawl -- if not for confidence in that very thing?

Otherwise, I'd be a ... neo-colonialist with a carefully concealed disdain for my poor brown brothers who seem to have such a difficulty protecting themselves.

You know ... like Bush and the GOP?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 24, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

".....riddle me this."

What, are you the joker now?

No matter how many inane, old and tired questions you may pose rmck1, the Lefts position on Iraq may soon to be proven a complete and utter failure and the soon to be attempts of saving face by those responsible will be fun to watch.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1, don't ever point to ones skin color as a point of identification. It clearly demonstrates your racism.

Gradual withdrawal is soon to happen. Broadcasting the specific events to happen and/or times would be foolish. Even Hillary is smarter than that.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

"rmck1, don't ever point to ones skin color as a point of identification. It clearly demonstrates your racism."

Jay, you're in way over your head. You don't recognize sarcasm. This isn't your junior high listserve. You are a callow young fool. Please be quiet now. Adults are talking.

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bush of course has no plan to leave. The reason we invaded was to establish a permanent military presence in the country.

Bush has already stated that the decision to leave will be the next president's. Till that time, Iraq is stuck with us and we are stuck with Iraq.

What Maliki's plan will do, though, is affect the domestic debate going on this year. It becomes a harder job for the Reps to argue Dems want to "cut and run" when the Dem plan (generally, to get out sometime, sooner rather than later) matches the Iraqi government's.

Posted by: JJF on June 24, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, obviously you're the one who doesn't get sarcasm. LOL.

btw, it's just the childish liberals talking, I know how easily confused you are.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

"btw, it's just the childish liberals talking, I know how easily confused you are."

That's called projecting, Jay. I don't expect you to understand the term now, but maybe they'll explain it to you when you get to high school.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

JJF is the perfect example of the left now attempting to save face on the Iraq issue and the soon to be gradual withdrawal.

The plan all along has been "We will stand down when the Iraqi's stand up". Remember that line morons. That's a conditions based policy. Watching the left trying to seem like their vistory is hysterical.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Joel are you still talking? I almost forgot you were there.

Posted by: Jay on June 24, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

The plan all along has been "We will stand down when the Iraqi's stand up".

Most of the Iraqis are actually standing up, Jay.

Except for the ones who can't stand up because they're dead.

But I'm very confident that we are being greeted as liberators.

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 24, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

"KC read my earlier posts."

I rather chew off my OWN big toe than read any more of Jay's posts. What a tool.

Posted by: Republican't on June 24, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK


the Lefts position on Iraq may soon to be proven a complete and utter failure and the soon to be attempts of saving face by those responsible will be fun to watch.

Given that the right was spectularly wrong about just abotu everything in Iraq -- 100s of tons of chem weapons, active bio programs, 7 mobile biolabs, reconsituted nuclear weapons, operational AQ links, being greeted as liberators, the insurgency, the cost (likely to be an order of amgnitude higher), troop strengh required, that would be really fun to watch.

Posted by: AntiJay on June 24, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jay the Pedophile's loose grasp on English seems to be slipping completely away. I suppose it's hard typing in a non-native language while jerking off to a picture of Dubya.

Posted by: solar on June 24, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

JJF is the perfect example of the left now attempting to save face on the Iraq issue...

Pardon me, bub, but Bush has fucked up Iraq as badly as anybody could have possibly fucked it up. Saving face is not the problem for the left.

The plan all along has been "We will stand down when the Iraqi's stand up". Remember that line morons...

Seems like the Iraqis are standing up, according to Maliki. Think Bush is gonna pull out? Hell no. Don't listen to what a lying son-of-a-bitch tells you. Watch what he does. Actions, not words, matter.

Which may be lucky for you, since you can't spell or punctuate.

Posted by: JJF on June 24, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Because he has absorbed all administration spin and flatout lies as his own--I will reply to a number of "Jay"'s comments.

The U.S. told the world we were going into Iraq because of WMDs there, as well as biological warfare agents. No WMDs, and as posted the poisons were scanty and degraded. What did that have to do with protecting the U.S.? How in hell would any of that stuff, assuming it existed, get to the U.S. Saddam had NO delivery methods--specifically no ICBMs.

And do not say that Al-Qaeda would have brought them in through the Mexican border. Knowing that there was NO connection between A-Q and Saddam as the administration did (they KNEW the "intelligence" was inconclusive AND suspect--remember the British memo?)---knowing all that, don't even start.

I'm already tired of repeating the obvious. I predict GW will soon be missing a big toe. The Plan for a New American Century has a little-known clause: "Should any development threaten the permanent occupation of strategic and oil-producing sovereign states, the sitting President of the USA will chew off his big toe to demonstrate that a change in policy is unwarranted."

Posted by: Cynthia on June 24, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Because he has absorbed all administration spin as his own thoughts,it is useful to reply to a number of "Jay"'s comments.

The U.S. told the world we were going into Iraq because of WMDs there, as well as biological warfare agents. No WMDs, and as posted the poisons were scanty and degraded. What did that have to do with protecting the U.S.? How in hell would any of that stuff, assuming it existed, get to the U.S. Saddam had NO delivery methods--specifically no ICBMs.

And do not say that Al-Qaeda would have brought them in through the Mexican border. Knowing that there was NO connection between A-Q and Saddam as the administration did (they KNEW the "intelligence" was inconclusive AND suspect--remember the British memo?)---knowing all that, don't even start.

I'm already tired of repeating the obvious. I predict GW will soon be missing a big toe. The Plan for a New American Century has a little-known clause: "Should any development threaten the permanent occupation of strategic and oil-producing sovereign states, the sitting President of the USA will chew off his big toe to demonstrate that a change in policy is unwarranted."

Posted by: Cynthia on June 24, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Because he has absorbed all administration spin and flatout lies as his own--I will reply to a number of "Jay"'s comments.

The U.S. told the world we were going into Iraq because of WMDs there, as well as biological warfare agents. No WMDs, and as posted the poisons were scanty and degraded. What did that have to do with protecting the U.S.? How in hell would any of that stuff, assuming it existed, get to the U.S. Saddam had NO delivery methods--specifically no ICBMs.

And do not say that Al-Qaeda would have brought them in through the Mexican border. Knowing that there was NO connection between A-Q and Saddam as the administration did (they KNEW the "intelligence" was inconclusive AND suspect--remember the British memo?)---knowing all that, don't even start.

I'm already tired of repeating the obvious. I predict GW will soon be missing a big toe. The Plan for a New American Century has a little-known clause: "Should any development threaten the permanent occupation of strategic and oil-producing sovereign states, the sitting President of the USA will chew off his big toe to demonstrate that a change in policy is unwarranted."

Posted by: Cynthia on June 24, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm already tired of repeating the obvious.

Then stop repeating it :)

Posted by: Ken on June 24, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

"I almost forgot you were there."

heh.

I'm not surprised. You can't seem to remember from moment to moment what the topic of the thread is, let alone who is posting.

ADD. It's very common among teenage boys like yourself.

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK


'Why should we believe the Iraqis will "stand up"
"Iraq is basically a house of cards without US forces. That's the reality." '

Well, Iraq as been around quite some time in one form or another.

The Bosnian scenario is not as bad as some other scenarios, for instance a middle east wide war over Iraq. Even militia politics, scaled up, would be no worse, per capita, then Lebanon in the 80s. Wholesale slauhter? Probably not, Iraqis know how to make an even fight. Ethnic cleansing, sure plenty of that.

Lebanon went through this and their national army even survived intact. The key to get through the mess is for the army to more or less stay out to the ethnic fighting. If we achieve that minimal aim, then things will eventually end up stable.

Posted by: Matt on June 24, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The key to get through the mess is for the army to more or less stay out to the ethnic fighting. If we achieve that minimal aim, then things will eventually end up stable."

Matt, the key is for the Iraqi Army to more or less stay out of the ethnic fighting. We can't achieve this. The Iraqi Army must achieve this. We are the destabilizing factor. We need to go home and leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

"Well, Iraq as been around quite some time in one form or another."

Iraq is an invention of Winston Churchill after WWI. It is a contrivance, imposed on the people of the region by outsiders and maintained, through much of its history, by force.

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people apparently have nothing better to do than waste time arguing with people who aren't going to change their minds come hell or high water. I'm talking to both sides here.

Posted by: Speed on June 24, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm talking to both sides here."

So you'll be leaving then?

Posted by: Joel on June 24, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Much better the Prime Minister of Iraq talk about when the troops should leave, than blow-hards like Murtha and Kerry.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on June 24, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Much better the Prime Minister of Iraq talk about when the troops should leave, than blow-hards like Murtha and Kerry.

roght , cause murtha and kerry aren't proposing the amnesty which makes maliki's plan superior in your eyes, right?

Posted by: benjoya on June 24, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

shorter frazier:
kerry, murtha = enemy
guy who proposes amnesty for killing americans = ally

Posted by: benjoya on June 24, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

OT, harry truman was the only US president ot fight in WWI (ike was stateside)

Posted by: benjoya on June 24, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

NEWS FLASH: Baghdad In a State of Emergency

Maybe its because George W. Bush and KarlRove both cut and ran from their service in the military or may it is just because conservatives are mentally ill, but arent they able to admit that Iraq is now in anarchy, a civil war is underway and this is now the largest foreign policy failure in American history?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 24, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: so consistent with what GW has been saying since the beginning,

How could anyone be so ignorant?

You really think GW wanted Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq to seize the reins of power in Iraq?

You really think Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq's seizing of the reins of power in Iraq it is worth all the blood and treasure being spilled?

Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq have been forcefully trying to make a secular Iraq a fundamentalist Islamic republic for over TWENTY years.

Thanks to you and Bush, Iraq is now a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic which has extremely close and long standing ties to Iran which Bush called an axis of evil, a country whose leader denies the fact of the holocaust and has threatened to wipe Israel of the map.

9/11 + Iraq = Bush's fundamentalist Islamic republic ?

Posted by: God on June 24, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Down goes Frazier: Much better the Prime Minister of Iraq talk about when the troops should leave, than blow-hards like Murtha and Kerry.

What do you know about Al-Maliki and the Al dawa party?

Al Dawa, the political party of Al-Maliki, is an Iranian-based fundamentalist Shiite faction.

For at least the last two decades, Al Dawa has been trying to violently transform secular Iraq into a fundamentalist Shiite republic.

E.g.:

In 1983, a `suicider' from Al Dawa drove a truck loaded with explosives into the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Six were killed and over eighty were injured.

See:


U.S. News & World Report
December 26, 1983 / January 2, 1984

The New Face of Mideast Terrorism

A new brand of terrorism confronting the U.S. in the Mideast was demonstrated in the closing days of 1983 when a suicide bomber wrecked the American Embassy in Kuwait.

Actions that once were hallmarks of Mideast radicals -- takeovers of buildings, hijackings of airliners and seizing of hostages -- are waning. In their place: Terrorism sponsored by governments -- notably Iran and Syria -- and carried out by Moslem fanatics fired by hatred of the U.S. and a desire for martyrdom.

Prompted as much by current issues as by ideology, the new terrorism is more lethal, widespread and harder to contain than terrorism of the 1970s.

U.S. officials blamed the December 12 bombing of their embassy in Kuwait on ''Islamic fundamentalists'' of the Shiite sect, backed by Iran and Syria.

The Americans charged that the attack was ''clearly connected'' to three disastrous bombings in Beirut -- one in April that killed more than 60 people at the U.S. Embassy and two suicide attacks in October that killed more than 240 American servicemen at the Marine barracks and 58 soldiers at the French peacekeeping headquarters. Shiites also are blamed for a bomb that killed 61 persons at an Israeli command center in southern Lebanon in November.

Suspicion for the attacks in Lebanon centered on one group -- the Islamic Jihad [Holy War], a secretive Shiite unit based in Syrian-controlled eastern Lebanon. It is closely linked to the Iranian regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who calls the U.S. the ''great Satan.''

The terrorist who detonated the truckload of explosives at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait was identified as a 25-year-old Iraqi belonging to an outlawed Moslem unit, the Iranian Dawa Group.

Posted by: God on June 24, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: also happens to be exactly the position of the vast majority of the Democratic Party

Nah. If Dubya accepted the proposal, the 'Publicans would spin it into some sort of great victory for conservative foreign policy...

Actually, I'm thinking that this puts Bush into a tight spot...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: The plan all along has been "We will stand down when the Iraqi's stand up". Remember that line morons. That's a conditions based policy.

The plan all along has been "We will stand down when the fundamentalist Shiite factions with close and long standing ties to Iran stand up"?

That makes zero sense.

Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (sic!) are those standing up.

They are not pro-western.

They are Islamic fundamentalist parties.

See Bush's Islamic Republic by Galbraith in the New York Review of Books:

[snip]

SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious lawrather than Iraq's relatively progressive civil codewould govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not "of the book," such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.

This program is not just theoretical. Since Saddam's fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq's southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities governand legislatewithout authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq's American-written interim constitutionthe Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).


[snip]


Posted by: God on June 25, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

grape_crush: Nah. If Dubya accepted the proposal, the 'Publicans would spin it into some sort of great victory for conservative foreign policy...

Bush and bovine gazed his supporters have *inadvertently* fathered a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11.

You think that is spinnable?

Posted by: God on June 25, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Let us consider the phrase "As the Iraqis stand up, we stand down."

Unfortunately, to the Iraqis, the only cogent, legitimate meaning "standing up" could have would be that the Iraqis expel the Americans.

The posture so many Americans give to this language would, to the Iraqis, be better understood by the phrase "bend over."

Posted by: Thinker on June 25, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Because of their monumental and inglorious screw up that is the Iraq occupation, the Republicans should be thankful they even have a say in all this.

In a more rational world, the Republican Party leaders responsible for the Iraq fiasco would have, by now, committed harakiri in order to beg forgiveness from the American people.

Posted by: nut on June 25, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

While Kevin is brilliant in comparison to the kindergarten kids at Kos and much of the rest of the liberal blogs, he is always at his weakest on military/Iraq issues.

Here, he looks at the subject purely on American political terms instead of the more important military and national security issues. He also basically misreports. The draft plan calls for "the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq's security," which is neither the type of firm timetable he suggests nor, hilariously, is it the position of the vast majority of the democrat party. It provides that with a successful reconciliation program, there will be agreement on a conditions based timetable. This is exactly what follows from the Bush policy of withdraw based on conditions. The Bush administration has for years said we will leave when the Iraqi government wants us to. It has always been obvious that there ultimately would be an agreed upon timetable based on security conditions.

Posted by: brian on June 25, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

The trolls are out in force. I guess theyu should band together to raise $100,000 so they can actually kiss Rove's ass in person--but maybe the rate went up. Jay, Brian, Al, if you want to do a year in the 115-degree Hell that is Iraq, the Army is waiting. If not, STFU forever. Big talking SOBs. Let's just leave out military there forever. The Iraqis want us to go. We went for the WMDs, we stayed for the culture. Right wing, big talking, chickenhawks. You support a war right down to the last neighbor kid.

Posted by: sparko on June 25, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

I just saw a fascinating Wall Street Journal inteview of Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, which provides Sparko and others with some information.

"Zebari believes that the Iraqi government will now be able to take steps to isolate the terrorists and curb the violence. However, he stresses that it is essential that the coalition forces do not withdraw or set some sort of timetable for withdrawl from Iraq.

He tells me about a fascinating discussion among Iraqi political leaders shortly before he left for New York. He told them, he says, that the new government was perfectly within its rights to ask for the departure of foreign troops. But he says he found no takers. In fact, the loudest objection to the idea came from Adnan al-Dulaimi, who represents a Sunni community generally thought to be most hostile to the "occupiers." They know only too well that coalition troops are their best protection against shadowy Baathist thugs who would like to lay claim to the Sunni leadership mantle. "Before the Sunnis were raising the flag for a withdrawal of all occupying forces immediately, that they are the sources of all the ills. Now they are the ones asking that they should stay," Mr. Zebari says."

So for Sparko and others who are so sure they know what the Iraqis want and what we should do, perhaps they should consider some information on the subject. We, of course, are providng the good people of Iraq an unbelievable gift and opportunity for freedom. They know it.

Posted by: brian on June 25, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

I think Brian (12:52) has captured Kevin Drum's problem to a tee.

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on June 25, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of us veterams have been there, done that, and really don't give a rat's ass for what you have to say Brian. You have zero credibility. Join up and grow some nuts.

Posted by: Sparko on June 25, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko,

I did not realize you are a veteran who's been to Iraq. Tell us what from your personal experience makes my and the Iraqi Foreign Minister wrong.

Posted by: brian on June 25, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

In a more rational world, the Republican Party leaders responsible for the Iraq fiasco would have, by now, committed harakiri in order to beg forgiveness from the American people.

So, so true. Who was it that mentioned "honor and dignity" during his campaign? I can't quite recall...

Posted by: craigie on June 25, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ted: Couldn't a halfway competent Democratic party seize on this? "See, the Iraqi government agrees with us, there needs to be a withdrawal plan and not this vague 'stay the course' stuff. We've offered two plans, the Republicans have killed them - we're the party that can work with the Iraqis to successfully conclude the war and bring the troops home."

Democratic Senators (including even Clinton) were saying exactly this during the debate on the Feingold-Kerry and the Levin-Reed resolutions this week. They were using Mouwaffak al-Roubaie's recent op ed in the Washington Post as the prop, since this big peace proposal was not yet public. Seems pretty clear that that op ed, 'The Way Out of Iraq: A Road Map', was a foreshadowing of the al-Maliki proposal.

Given Khalilzad's deep involvement in the negotiations, how un-positive can the Cheney-Bush regime's response to this proposal be? Isn't Casey's "we're prepared to pull out brigades in 2007" leak in today's NYTimes designed to avoid throwing cold water on it?

Of course, I'm still cynical. Bases are still an objective; this is a way of getting there, for Khalilzad and Cheney-Bush. The electoral dance is trickier; this plays to everyone _but_ Bush's 30% (but see how ready American Hawk is to embrace it?).

I'll say this: If Bush reacts positively, Democrats better react by pushing even harder on the 'no bases' angle rather than screaming about the amnesty provisions of the proposal. Running to his right is the way to lose the Dem base for no gain whatsoever anywhere else.

Posted by: Nell on June 25, 2006 at 4:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see.

The repubnuts are going to claim victory whatever happens, however many die and whatever the outcome. Hence the convenience of a "plan" and conditions of victory and/or withdrawal that have no specifics.

The Kurds -- and most defined territory -- are happy to have their own independence whether within a federation or not. It's worked for them the last 12 years. They'll continue pragmatically. They're cohesive enough to resist the Shias. In the meantime, I'm sure they love the ole greenback.

The Sunni insurgents kill US troops to get us out but want us there so they can continue to kill Shias under our protection.

The Shias are the nominal majority and therefore have an interest in sufficient stability only US forces can supply to maintain their (and our) corrupt ways in Iraq. Meanwhile Shia forces trained and armed by ourselves can continue killing Sunnis and become strong enough to win any coming civil war once US forces withdraw at their requested convenience.

So who is pulling whose chain?

Yes, the Iraqi government can tell us when to leave with any reasonable notice. But the US government needs to set out the conditions, success and failure, under which it would withdraw its troops.

Don't give me "stand-up, stand-down". For the second time we are approaching 300,000 "trained" security forces (3rd time around in training) and I don't hear so much distinction between police and military. They ain't trained or equipped right yet. And I don't hear anything about all the ancilliary formations needed -- heavy weapons, air support, supply, intelligence, medical, forensic, etc., etc., etc.

Many of the best have left for Jordan and Syria and will only return to a demonstrably safe and functioning state. (Brookings index: Pre-war 34,000 doctors, 12,000 departed and 2,000 killed.)

This admnistration has never shown any serious intent to bring Iraq to autonomy. It's always been way behind the curve if its intent is stability and prosperity.

The conclusion has to be that this administration intended to keep Iraq dependent. This way lies disaster -- for the US and the Iraqis.

Posted by: notthere on June 25, 2006 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

Billmon

Cutting and Running to Victory

If this Newsweek story is correct, then we're probably approaching one of those truly Orwellian moments when the trained parrots all start screeching a completely different set of propaganda talking points -- diametrically opposed to the ones they were screeching just a few minutes before:

http://billmon.org/archives/002479.html

We are seeing it right here in this thread.

Posted by: Mike S on June 25, 2006 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

Now you've got it...of course they will begin to screech a totally different set of talking points...they're all completely snowed by the WINNING AT ANY COST...GOD WANTS THIS...crap! Believe me if THEIR GOD wanted America to be a Christian nation he wouldn't be fooling around with a numbnut like Bush...he'd make it so! I thought we would follow the lead of the duly elected (FREEDOM IS ON THE MARCH) Iraqi government...unless, I guess, we don't like what they suggest...and that makes us WHAT??? Hypocrites! Big SURPRISE!!!

Posted by: Dancer on June 25, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE to me why you, Kevin, and the left wing rabble cannot grasp this issue: of course there is going to be a drawdown of troops and of course the Shia who in essence control the political process are going to espouse such a thing for various reasons - the f***ing die is cast! Without the addition of more troops there's not much we can do there so the only question left is UNDER WHAT TERMS AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES we leave.

This is why if you're a smart democrat, and there don't appear to be many of those, you play your cards close to the vest: Bush is 'tween rock and hard place, why give him a stick to possibly pry himself loose? A stick like cut and run, liberals are weak, liberals are cowards, liberals won't see things through, liberals don't support the troops etc etc etc.

But of course liberals for some inexplicable reason can't seem to see this and all full of self importance proceed with their stupid resolutions and stupid calls for withdrawal - and hand dumb George his stick.

Why do you think McCain has consistently called for sending MORE troops? Cause he knows Iraq is lost and he's going to blame this not on Bush but those serving Bush and then he'll proudly present himself as the tough guy with the brains and brawn and heroic experience not to let such a thing happen to him - at one and the same time he'll separate himself from the disaster of Iraq and the weakness of democrats: this will be his election strategy and this is why Hillary has tried, now apparently to no avail, to stay clear of this call for withdrawal nonsense.

But thanks to you idiots that's all lost. Good work. The only excuse for such tactical ineptness on the part of Democrats is belief that Americans want some plan from them - but Republicans have goaded you into this expression! The average American voter doesn't have a clue what Iraq is, was or will be about and is only looking for vague reassurances of somekind - like the appearance of competence and strength of purpose, appearances which are not conveyed by bickering over some stupid withdrawal resolution in congress.
All you have to do, HAD to do was shut up and Bush's incompetence would do the work for you - but no, gotta give speeches, gotta fluff one's feathers for the camera, got to make it look like you know what f**k you're talking about.

One starts to think Gore has conjured up the most brilliant election strategy in history - notice how he isn't calling for withdrawl but simply vaguely referencing it? He's placed himself nicely above the partisan idiocy. It's a masterstroke - and somewhere in a backroom Hillary is screaming
and damning all you peaceniks to hell.

Posted by: saintsimon on June 25, 2006 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Um, late to the party as ever, but this all--well mostly--seems painfully naive.

A) You really think the little pet government locked up in the Green Zone came up with this all by their very lonesome and surprised Cheney with it?

B) You think that "major reductions starting in September!" "leaK" in the NYTimes is just a coinky dink?

C) You really think that Iraq timetable thingy actually commits anyone to doing anything at any particular time?

President Bush would be flatly insane to turn this opportunity down. etc etc blah blah blah. News for you ole Calpundit of yore: I'd be willing to lay down serious money that he (well, his handlers) WROTE the thing.

Posted by: DrBB on June 25, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

God on June 25, 2006 at 12:07 AM:

You think that is spinnable?

Yup. Probably something similar to this:

"fathered a burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic republic in direct response to the horrific attacks of 9/11."

spins to:

"The lessons of 9/11 have taught us that democracy is the best tool for fighting terrorism. I am pleased to announce that the maturity of the new, democratic government of Iraq has progressed to the point where..."

and so forth.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

DrBB on June 25, 2006 at 8:26 AM:

I'd be willing to lay down serious money that he (well, his handlers) WROTE the thing.

And, by letting the Iraqis release it, the administration saves face...They get to openly decry aspects they don't like (amnesty) while patting themselves on the back for creating a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

Enh. While I don't put the GOP above forming policy to support domestic election strategy, I don't trust 'em to be as unsubtle as that...This feels like more like some deeper game: After elections, when the conditions for U.S. pullout are interpreted as having not been met, Dubya 'stays the course', retains his faulty claim on super-Presididential authority, and more of your children's money goes to Halliburton.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Or to put it another way, anyone remember how we got the Department of Homeland Security? First it was a Democratic nitwit idea that was anathema to the wise leaders of the GOP. Then it was their idea.

For my part, I thought they had it right the first time, and the evidence so far confirms it. Still, this is a lifelong political pattern for Dear Leader. He's dead set agin it and all must admire his Immoveable Rigor, then it's his idea and all must admire his Bold Vision.

Coupla months from now I suspect no one in the Traditional Me-dia will be able to to even conceive of the idea that Dear Leader didn't think up that brilliant timetable stragertery all by himself.

We have always been at war with Eurasia, after all.

Posted by: DrBB on June 25, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Or to put it still another way: There's a pretty big difference between a US-proposed timetable and an Iraqi one. --Mario

Yup. Or on another level, no difference at all.

Posted by: DrBB on June 25, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

This just in: No timetable mentioned in the 24-point reconciliation for U.S. troop withdrawal.

Here's the AP article:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday offered an olive branch to insurgents who join in rebuilding Iraq and said lawmakers should set a timeline for the Iraqi military and police to take control of security throughout the country.
The prime minister made no mention of any timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in a 24-point national reconciliation plan he presented to parliament.

Then again, U.S. force presence in Iraq is a problem for the next administration...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

I told you Kevin was misreporting things. Pus, Sparko apparently is not really a veteran, or he went to bed or he thinks I am so clueless there was no need to reply.

But I still think it is obvious that eventually there will be agreement between us and the Iraqis on a conditions based withdrawal, which is exactly the logical conclusion of the Bush policy/approach.

And, of course, U.S. troop force presence will be an issue for the next administration. The war on terror will not end with the presidency of Bush and it is neither realistic nor in the U.S. interest to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by January 2009.

Posted by: brian on June 25, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

...and he would rather chew off his own big toe than do anything that might turn down the volume on the domestic partisan jihad that's been so politically successful for Republicans ever since 9/11. I guess we'll find out soon.

Well, I agree with Kevin and with Craigie that this is no exaggeration and that the Bush administration deserves this very harsh language.

But, it should come as no surprise that there is broad consensus in Iraq for U.S. withdrawal. There has been every indication of that consensus for at least two years.

This has happened twice in my lifetime. Almost everyone knows that a huge mistake has been made, that the U.S. military has been misused via very dishonest pretexts. Once committed, it very difficult to withdraw.

My observation: the American people need to pay more attention and guard against judgments based on fear and prejudice. Its a clich, but true.

To the republican party, I say this: You are tired of being accused of being of prejudice and fear tactics and appealing to the worst in people? Then do something about it. The folks running your party are pathetic. They seem to think that consensus building, both domestic and international, is for sissies.

And dont try to tell me that Al Gore/John Kerry/Bill Clinton would have done the same thing. Thats the whole point. They would not have. This is a war that conservative republicans dragged us into via lies and deception.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 25, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

"The Bush administration has for years said blah blah blah"

Brian, have you never learned to distinguish between what politicans say and what they do? Bush-Cheney did not go into Iraq so the Shiite majority could have elections and install a pro-Iran Islamic state. They went in to set up a pro-US puppet state, build permanent US bases and dominate the country's economy.

In another time, you would have been one of those simple-minded cheerleaders who believed that Moscow truly wanted to "liberate the people" of Afghanistan, or that Poland had really attacked Germany.

Posted by: Red on June 25, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

God, some of you people really need to stop reading fairy tales and grow up. Like every country in the world, our major political parties are basically organized crime families. They lie to us and rip us off on a regular basis, they hide their real policies behind a lot of phony patriotism, and nothing really changes. And like morons most of you go on pulling the lever for your favorite "party," thinking that THIS time it will really make a difference. What a bunch of saps.

Posted by: Huxley on June 25, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

grape_crush, just because a timetable wasn't mentioned, doesn't mean it doesn't exist (pardon the double negative). Maliki's major political challenge is to make peace with the insurgents and end the civil war. He can't do this without the withdrawal of our troops, plus an amnesty as preconditions. It isn't clear whether the right wing here will allow the latter to happen, but it is 100% essential to stabilizing politics in Iraq. And no way is Maliki waiting until 2009 (and I wonder whether he'll be able to wait till after our elections - he has his own "timetable" to worry about and it probably doesn't coincide with Rove's).

It will be unclear whether Bush can make any political gains from this. His reputation will never recover from Katrina, and I wonder whether those who swung against him on the war will come back.

And since an Iraq settlement will have no bearing on the "war on terror", since the war had nothing to do with conducting this fight - it will go on, and so will Bush's mishandling.

I'm thinking the best possibility a settlement has for Bush is to staunch his political bleeding as soon as American soldiers stop literally bleeding. There are plenty of worse scenarios for Bush, though, as there are for our soldiers. Take a look at Richard Perle in today's WashPo - "who lost Iran." This could get ugly WITHIN the republican party.


Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 25, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans always cut and run. Yes,they pound their chests and wave the flag but they are at the same time negotiating to cut and run. (See Viet Nam)

Posted by: fat karl on June 25, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

lots of the posts above were worth reading, but most people seem to ignore a comment made by me and repeated by Red State Mike: But I also wanted to mention that the term "conditions-based timetable" is a stupid one. Is it conditions-based? Or time-based?

Is it "conditions based"?

Is it a "timetable"?

If it is "conditions based", then it is already the policy of the Bush administration.

At the present time, it appears to be nothing more than an agreement by the Sunni representatives to negotiate with the elected Iraqi government. As such, it is the latest of many small steps forward, and its importance depends in part on what the next steps are.

Posted by: republicrat on June 25, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Bush will make a "POLITICAL" decision. Or should I say Carl Rove will make the decision. Rove will select the best scenario with the best spin for the November elections.

Posted by: BigFatJoe on June 25, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

If it is "conditions based", then it is already the policy of the Bush administration.

What are the conditions specified by the Bush administration?

The ability to stand upright?

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 25, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Cynthia (et al):
The U.S. told the world we were going into Iraq because of WMDs there

You might not remember, but some other things were mentined as well.

Here's an exceprt from the 2003 SOTU:

[T]onight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country.

And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. . .


Here's a bit of Pres. Bush's sppech to the U. N. in the the runup to the invasion in Sept. of 2002:

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it.

Try to revise history all you wish, but it simply was not all about WMD.

Posted by: Brian on June 25, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

brian on June 25, 2006 at 10:09 AM:

I told you Kevin was misreporting things.

Not really. From The Telegraph U.K.:

The Government will also offer a timetable for American troop withdrawal, stop US operations targeting insurgents, and clamp down on violations of human rights abuses, according to a 28-page deal reported by the Times.

Many reported the same thing, based on the best available information at the time.

eventually there will be agreement between us and the Iraqis on a conditions based withdrawal

This is wrong, and in a couple of ways:

First: If the intent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq was to build a sovereign, stable democracy in the Middle East...which was not the original, primary rationale given...then the U.S. doesn't get to determine under what conditions they pull U.S. forces out. The Iraqi government that we set up tells the U.S. to leave, and we respect their wishes.

Second: Both determining conditions and the completion of those conditions is a judgement call. Given the track record of the Bush administration's judgement on, well, everything, I don't trust them to make a call that benefits anyone but them and their supporters.

The war on terror will not end with the presidency of Bush...

No shit, Brian. The issue of terrorism started before I was born and will continue after I die. However, this is the first time I've seen the fight against terrorism conducted as a limited war instead of as a matter of intel, espionage, and small, well-defined military operations.

...and it is neither realistic nor in the U.S. interest to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by January 2009.

I separated your sentence into two parts, Brian...Because the fight against terrorism and the invasion and occupation of Iraq are two separate things. In addition, please explain why you think that the getting the U.S. out of Iraq is not in this country's 'interest'.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Googles McGurk on June 25, 2006 at 11:27 AM:

The ability to stand upright?

Um, two less beheadings per month? Ten fewer civilans killed per week?

Yeah, I'm with you, Googles...Look for something like, "we can't tell you the conditions or whether the conditions have been achieved for security reasons" or something...

It's a beautiful day. Little_grape and I are going to a barbeque, so catch y'all later.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 25, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Conversely, if he resists it, it would be hard not to conclude that he was doing so solely because a "broad, conditions-based timetable" also happens to be exactly the position of the vast majority of the Democratic Party and he would rather chew off his own big toe than do anything that might turn down the volume on the domestic partisan jihad that's been so politically successful for Republicans ever since 9/11. I guess we'll find out soon."

Is there any doubt? Is there one shred of evidence that would lead one to believe that he would even consider it, much less adopt it?

Posted by: marty on June 25, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Good post, grape_crush;

republicrat, to say that Bush is in favor of a conditions-based withdrawal says nothing; there are conditions and there are conditions, and the Iraqis' may be very different from Bush's and may provoke considerable discontent among Bush's supporters. A Maliki "condition" that amnesties those we identify as "terrorists" may not be palatable here, but then again, there may be very little Bush can do about it.

And you draw too strong a dichotomy between conditions and timetables - indeed, it is something of a false dichotomy. Conditions exist in real time, and Maliki doesn't have unlimited time, and certainly not until January 2009 to achieve HIS conditions.

If you can't achieve your conditions in the time period that matters, you change your conditions, one way or another.


Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 25, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK


brian: Try to revise history all you wish, but it simply was not all about WMD.

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - G.W. Bush 3/6/03

very clear.....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The pyramid of bodies finally built up high enough to allow a pre-election withdrawl. What a surprise! These cynical, manipulative SOBs are worthless pieces of self-absorbed trash. Rove is a master manipulator who doesn't give a damn for what the President said last week. He'll just deny everything and change the subject this week. Happens every damned time. And they never apologize.

I think the lack of a draft must be addressed beforethis nation ever goes to war again. There isn't even a decent peace movement because the elites have no stake whatsoever in this war. A lot of the Vietnam peace movement involved people who were out to save their own ass. They are missing in action this time--esconced with their coffee, Fox news and patriotism of words only. Their GOP-led government is responsible for many lives lost from 9-11 to 6-24. They voted down the minimum wage increases too. Along with unaffordable gasoline, health care and soon--groceries, what are these Republicans but sadistic, tone-deaf killers of prosperity and the middle class?

Posted by: Sparko on June 25, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Because I am a veteran of DS and OIF, I feel the need to call bullshit, Brian. When you slathering sycophants join up and munch MREs in the sandy Hell, you'll see this differently. Just wearing the protective gear in Iraq is dangerous due to the heat. Doesn't take a genius to know you can't occupy such a country for long and keep morale up. Three combat divisions worth of futility. Hard to find a veteran who doesn't want to end this. We need recruits though, and every damned Republican of military age needs to pony up. Thiey brought us here, ignored the advice of experts, and smugly "stayed the course" with other people's lives.

Posted by: Sparko on June 25, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

thisspace,

Thanks for helping to make my point. WMD was only one part of the argument, as you have highlighted.

Posted by: Brian on June 25, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Like Brian says, stop all this revisionist historicizing. We all remember that WMDs were hardly mentioned. Bush went to the Congress--and bullied the UN--almost entirely on the basis that it would be a really nice thing if we could liberate Iraq. Not because they were an threat to anyone or anything but because it would be the right thing to do. For the Iraqis' own sake. All that stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds and inspectors and mobile labs and drone planes and Colin Powell testifying in the UN and all that stuff--that was way below the radar. I hardly remember that stuff. All I recall was Bush and his top officials going on TV again and again and again and talking about how nifty it would be undertake an unprecedentedly risky nation-building exercise in the heart of the most volatile region in the world because it would be an exceedingly nice thing to do. And everyone stood up and said YES! Now THAT'S a reason for spending hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives that I can really get behind!

Which is why the whole world leaped to our side and joined hands together to brring about this great exercise in sheer idealism.

WMD was only one part of the argument. Exactly. A realy teeny miniscule part that hardly anyone even thought about, compared to all that other much more important stuff they were talking about all the time and were always trying to get the dialogue to focus on. It was you lefties and media guys who insisted on blathering about WMDs. But nobody else thought that stuff had much of anything to do with it.

Posted by: DrBB on June 25, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko resurfaces. He is a veteran of OIF, which means we should all be grateful to him for his service. However, I don't think his contribution to this debate of telling us that it is hot and difficult in Iraq adds a great deal to answering the question of what is the best approach to the situation.

Posted by: brian on June 25, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Brian, catch your breath and try to think rationally...curtail the impulse to spout talking points.

What Sparko is saying is that WE have a timetable, too. The open-ended commitment to "stand down when they stand up" runs up against real constraints on keeping an Army in the field in this kind of conflict (if it hasn't already exceeded that - ex-generals telling us the Army is or is close to being broken should be listened to).

That adds a great deal to this debate.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 25, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Brian to Sparko: Thanks for your service, now STFU.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 25, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

It seems the latest news is that he wants to set dates for the Iraqi army and police to take over Iraqi security. That is a big difference from a time table for American withdrawel.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on June 25, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like this deal is DOA anyway:

---------------------------------------
Representatives of 11 Iraqi insurgent groups told The Sunday Times yesterday that they would reject the peace offer because they did not recognise the legitimacy of the government.

A senior commander authorised to speak on behalf of other groups warned that they would continue to fight. As long as there is an occupation and an illegitimate government, the resistance and insurgency will continue, he said.

Malikis plan follows talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the president, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.

However, the groups that have taken part in the negotiations are understood to be relatively small. Those rejecting the peace offer include larger organisations such as the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of Ansar al-Sunna.

These bodies have drawn up a separate set of demands. They want a more rapid withdrawal of foreign troops, the release of all prisoners from American and Iraqi jails and compensation from the United States and other coalition countries to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure and homes destroyed in the war.

The 11 groups have indicated that any future talks should be conducted with American officials under UN or Arab League supervision, but not with the Iraqi government.
---------------------------------------

So Maliki and Khalilzad apparently weren't negotiating with the insurgents they needed to be negotiating this deal with. And while the insurgents that need to be reckoned with set forth some counterconditions, they include direct talks with the US under UN or Arab League supervision.

I can't imagine Bush or Cheney OKing that. Cheney'd rather drink molten steel.

Fuck and damn.

Posted by: RT on June 25, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

friend of labor: republicrat, to say that Bush is in favor of a conditions-based withdrawal says nothing; there are conditions and there are conditions, and the Iraqis' may be very different from Bush's and may provoke considerable discontent among Bush's supporters

Kevin Drum: Did you get that? No one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable.

Friend of labor, your comment would seem to explain why no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable. NO conditions and NO times have been specified, so there is nothing to disagree with. This whole thread is about NO specific thing.

Posted by: republicrat on June 25, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat, at such a level of generalities you are saying everything and nothing.

It depends on whose conditions you are talking about. Maliki will have to make a deal with the insurgents to end the fighting and to save his government, and the precondition is us leaving and granting amnesty to fighters.

If the US or the Iraqi Army had any prospect of defeating the insurgency we wouldn't even be having this discussion. But we can't and they can't.

That being the case, why should the insurgents make peace only to put themselves in prison (or worse)? You negotiate and make an amnesty deal with your enemies. Will Bush allow it? I'm skeptical.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 25, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Just days after President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress lambasted their Democratic opponents for supposedly wanting to "cut and run" in Iraq, the Iraqi government and American military leadership in Baghdad essentially endorsed the Democratic position to set a timeline to draw down U.S. troops.

For the details, see:
"Iraqi PM, U.S. Commander: Cut and Run"

Posted by: AvengingAngel on June 25, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Here's from General Casey, courtesy NYTimes: American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq's six central provinces.

The timetable will be adhered to only if the conditions are met. Maybe that's the "conditions-based timetable".


Friend of Labor: Maliki will have to make a deal with the insurgents to end the fighting and to save his government, and the precondition is us leaving and granting amnesty to fighters. I think the precondition is that the US promises to leave after the Iraqi government is secure; secondarily that the amnesty depends on the amnestied individuals working peacefully after the amnesty. Even if the conditions are decided by the Iraqi government (as in fact they will be), the fundamental distinction is about whether the conditions have to be satisfied before the troops withdraw. The ambiguity that apparently allows everyone to agree is in the line quoted by Kelvin Drum; if some people are agreeing to conditions, and others are agreeing to a timetable, then there is no agreement.

Posted by: republicrat on June 25, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Brian to Sparko: Thanks for your service, now STFU.

So ridiculous. Wingers are constantly telling us to listen to what the military and ex-military have to say, then when a vet like Sparko speaks up and tells them what they don't want to hear, they start squalling. Well, the Sparkos are multiplying, so efforts to ignore or discredit them are going to become hard, hard work.

Posted by: shortstop on June 26, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Republicrat: you continue to pursue a non-issue; there is no dichotomy between conditions and timetables. But you have the wrong "timetable": it is not a matter of the fall elections or Kerry's withdraw-by date or even January 2009.

The only "timetable" that matters is how much time Maliki has before things come unglued in Iraq. Put simply, he doesn't have until our November elections and certainly not until the middle of next year.

If you look at this solely through a US political lens you get only a small and (as you admit), not necessarily relevant piece of the puzzle, since the deal will be struck in Baghdad whether we like it or not.

If Maliki cannot extract concessions from the insurgents soon, he will be worse than a lame duck. And, it follows, the concessions will not be ones our politicians will be able to live with publicly.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 26, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans want an Endless War. Their power is based upon an Endless War. They need an Endless War to survive political. That's why they reject any timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. Here's the new Democratic soundbite. End the Republicans' Endless War.

Posted by: CT on June 26, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

friedn of labor: Republicrat: you continue to pursue a non-issue; there is no dichotomy between conditions and timetables.


American officials: American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress,

There is a fundamental difference between leaving on April 1, 2007 only if there is "continued progress", and withdrawing on April 1, 2007 without progress. When the British withdrew from India, they set a date certain. In the American debate about Iraq, the debate is exactly over the dichotomy that you say does not exist.

Posted by: republicrat on June 26, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Republicrat says:

"In the American debate about Iraq..."

That's the point - our "debate" is only one part of this issue. The real debate - or the more important debate - is in Iraq, and the "timetable" there bears little resemblance to ours. In specific, Maliki probably doesn't have until April 1, 2007, whether there is progress or not.

The terms of our "debate" as you outline it preclude looking at this problem in an constructive fashion.

Try to get out of this limited mindset.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on June 26, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The real debate - or the more important debate - is in Iraq,

On that we at least half agree. The existence of the debate in Iraq probably depends for a time (as it has over the past 3 years) on the presence of American soldiers.

Posted by: republicrat on June 26, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

this from Iraq the Model:So far, everybody in Iraq feels good about Maliki's plan and expressed their hopes for it to meet success and ease the suffering of the Iraqi people; everybody except for the Sadrists and the association of Muslim scholars who both criticized the plan and said it wasn't acceptable and expected it to fail.

Posted by: republicrat on June 27, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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