Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do Not Buy The Spin

Another Friday, slow-news cycle, but we did locate this story from the WaPo on the newest agreement in the works between President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki:

President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as security conditions in the war-ravaged nation continue to improve, White House officials said here Friday.

The agreement, reached during a video conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks a dramatic shift for the Bush administration, which for years has condemned any talk of timetables for withdrawal.

But Maliki and other Iraqi leaders in recent weeks have begun demanding firm withdrawal deadlines from the United States. Bush said earlier this week that he opposes "arbitrary" timetables but was open to setting an "aspirational goal" for moving U.S. troops to a support role.

While Bush was traveling here for a GOP fundraiser, the White House issued a statement announcing the agreement.

"In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals," the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and "the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq."

The statement continued: "The president and prime minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal."

The first bolded area was that the WaPo paints this as a "dramatic shift." It is not. We knew that any additional length of US troops in Iraq past the December 31st deadline would have to be negotiated. And from what we understand, these negotiations have been going on for some time now.

Second, the timetable involved was always -- always -- dependent on the situation on the ground in Iraq. It was never arbitrary as Senator Obama and Democrats have been trying to force on the president for the last couple of years, including the superb success of the surge led by General Petraeus. We will recall that before General Petraeus's testimony before congress, Democrats were denying any sort of gains being made. Some, like Senator Obama, still believe that Iraq is a lost cause, which is why he still stands firm on his sixteen month timetable for complete withdrawal.

I urge readers to be prepared for the hype and spin that is about to come out from the Democrats. They will thump their chests and click their tongues that the president has finally come around to their way of thinking. That could not be further from the truth. As I said above, and as the president and prime minister have repeated, any sort of withdrawal or draw down of troops will come based on the situation in Iraq. It will not be arbitrary. It will not be rushed.

The last thing we want to do is pull out now, before full security is established and before the Iraqis are ready to take over. Doing so could very well undo what has occurred over the last year, and we do not want to reenter Iraq. When we leave it will be with the knowledge that Iraq can stand on its own, and defend itself.



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