Paul Richter and Tyler Marshall report in the Los Angeles Times that President Bush will start laying the groundwork for significant troops pullouts from Iraq.
I guess the boy reads polls after all.
Richter and Marshall write,
Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict.
In a departure from previous statements, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi soldiers had advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops in the country probably would not be needed much longer.
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.
The administration’s pivot on the issue comes as the White House is seeking to relieve enormous pressure by war opponents. The camp includes liberals, moderates and old-line conservatives who are uneasy with the costly and uncertain nation-building effort.
It also follows agreement this week among Iraqi politicians that the U.S. troop presence ought to decrease. Meeting in Cairo, representatives of the three major ethnic and religious groups called for a U.S. withdrawal and recognized Iraqis’ “legitimate right of resistance” to foreign occupation. In private conversations, Iraqi officials discussed a possible two-year withdrawal period, analysts said.
In other words, he’s going to declare victory so the troops can go home. Which is, of course, ENTIRELY DIFFERENT (snark) from “cutting and running.” And I’m predicting now that the “two-year withdrawal period” will be considerably shorter than two years.
Update: Josh Marshall writes,
I’m going to way out on a limb and take James Fallows’ word over the president’s and assume that there’s been no radical turnaround in the training and functioning of the Iraqi Army over the last couple months.
And if that’s true, it clarifies this essential point: there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That’s over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president’s partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections.
Exactly. And the Dems will be outmaneuvered once again.