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Thursday, September 13, 2007

And by not requiring a timeline for withdrawal, the Democrats played right into Bush's hands
Posted by Jill | 6:21 AM
This is what happens when you don't do the right thing because it's right. This is what happens when you refuse to believer that you are dealing with the most dishonest leaders in the history of this country, and no, I am not forgetting Nixon.

By caving in and not requiring a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, the Democrats have allowed the intransigent Bush Administration to paint itself as the face of compromise:

When top Democratic leaders visited him at the White House this week, President Bush told them he wanted to “find common ground” on Iraq. But when the president said he planned to “start doing some redeployment,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, cut him off.

“No you’re not, Mr. President,” Ms. Pelosi interjected. “You’re just going back to the presurge level.”

The testy exchange, recounted by three people who attended the session or were briefed on it, provides a peek into how Mr. Bush will try to sell Americans on his Iraq strategy when he addresses the nation at 9 p.m. Thursday. With lawmakers openly skeptical of his troop buildup, Mr. Bush will cast his plan for a gradual, limited withdrawal as a way to bring a divided America together — even as he resists demands from those who want him to move much faster.

The prime-time address will be the eighth by Mr. Bush on Iraq since the invasion in March 2003, the latest iteration of his efforts to sketch what he calls “the way forward.” It will be the first time he has described a plan for troop reductions, a radical departure for a president who has repeatedly defied his critics’ calls to bring the troops home.

Yet as the president outlines his plan, his critics say he is trying to have it both ways. He is, they say, taking credit for a drawdown that has been envisioned since he first announced the current buildup on Jan. 10 — a withdrawal that had to be carried out unless he was willing to take the politically unpalatable step of extending soldiers’ tours further.

The White House declined on Wednesday to preview Mr. Bush’s speech, but one senior administration official, speaking anonymously to avoid upstaging the president, said the reductions would be heavily conditioned on the situation in Iraq and would fall far short of the rapid withdrawal Democrats want.

Under the plan, at least 130,000 American troops would remain in Iraq next July, down from more than 160,000, decreasing to about the same level as before the buildup began, with any decisions on further withdrawals likely to be postponed until at least next March. The planned drawdowns between now and July 2008 are expected to be of the 30,000 that many assumed the president would suggest after this week’s testimony by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq. But, the senior official said, Mr. Bush’s ultimate goal would be a sustainable force of around 10 combat brigades, down from 20 now, at the end of his presidency, though a large number of support troops would also still be required.

“We want bipartisanship,” said this official, “but not to the point where it sacrifices success.”

One wonders if the entire reason for this "surge" was less to try to get control of an uncontrollable situation and more to allow George Bush some wiggle room in announcing a troop withdrawal, thereby giving him the opportunity to appear to be bipartisan and willing to withdraw some troops without actually reducing the American presence in Iraq.

When Democrats want to roll back tax cuts and return federal tax rates to what they were before a cut, or when they want to stop the next part of a phased cut, Republicans paint that as a tax increase. So it's logical that the Republican way would also to be to increase troop levels in Iraq, then decrease them and call it a reduction in force.

And of course Americans will buy it. They'll buy it because for all that too many Americans don't have a clue about the Constitution or what it means, they are highly tied to our system of government and to the notion that the U.S. government is intrinsically good -- a notion tested strongly by the actions of this Administration. That this surge and planned redeployment is essentially a wash won't occur to them because there's been so little for them to cling to of late.

But those who will be fooled are only fooling themselves. For the reality is that like everything else in his miserable failure of a life, George W. Bush has once again dug a dry hole, run a company into the ground, and traded Sammy Sosa. His policy and his goal, just as it always has been, is to get the hell outta Dodge and leave the mess he created for someone else to clean up:

The talk in Washington on Monday was all about troop reductions, yet it also brought into sharp focus President Bush's plans to end his term with a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq, and to leave tough decisions about ending the unpopular war to his successor.

The plans outlined by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, would retain a large force in the country -- perhaps more than 100,000 troops -- when the time comes for Bush to move out of the White House in January 2009.

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