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May 10, 2007

Majority of Iraqi MPs Endorse American Plan -- The Pelosi Plan For A Withdrawal Timetable (UPDATE: Maybe Not)

It sounds pretty bad. It probably is pretty bad. But to be honest, at this point, I think Iraq would be doing the US a favor to request the withdrawal of our troops. If their heart isn't in the fight, how exactly can we ask US troops to give all on their behalf?

The Iraqi bill, drafted by a parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc.

The Sadrist bloc, which sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it had garnered the support of a majority of lawmakers…

It's not a request we can refuse -- after all, we've promised from the beginning to stay as long as the Iraqis requested and not a day longer -- and I don't think Americans are particularly eager to resist the request anyway.

True, all sorts of havoc would ensue, but that's on them. We would have done -- more specifically, our troops would have done -- what we said we'd do. We came, we fought, we left when asked to by the elected representative government. We're not in the business of helping people against their will.

The trouble is that this bill almost certainly won't pass, so there will be no clean request for withdrawal, and the US will be expected to carry on the fight despite the fact that a majority of elected Iraqi MPs have gone on record with their demand that we go home.

Captain Ed comments on the parliament's plan to go on vacation for two months -- without passing critical oil-sharing legislation that may reduce the energy of the insurgency -- while US troops are dying.

If the Iraqis walk away from the Assembly without any of that getting accomplished, and then spend two months without making any effort at all, the war effort is over. The surge will be a dead letter in Congress, and almost certainly Republicans will start to consider defunding as an option as well as Democrats. Dick Cheney understands this, which is why he made a surprise visit to Maliki to explain the situation in small words.

I had considered a threat that if the parliament takes a vacation, so will US troops. After all, they've earned it more, accomplished a hell of a lot more than the Iraqi MPs, and are definitely more in need of some downtime. Captain Ed has similar thoughts:

A two-month vacation by the Assembly will leave the US with one of two options. Either we continue to fight al-Qaeda in Anbar and Diyala and move out of Baghdad to secure the Iraqi-Iranian border, or we dump the whole project into the laps of the Saudis and Egyptians and wish them the best of luck.

Is the war over, for all but the shouting? It would seem so, absent some dramatic moves by Iraqi politicians to show greater eagerness to solve their own problems as well as greater appreciation for the sacrifice of US soldiers.

Certainly the war on behalf of the Iraqi government and people is over -- there's hardly any point fighting for peace and decency in a country whose inhabitants simply do not want such things. Though, as Captain Ed says, there may be some good Al Qaeda hunting to be done.

Allah links this excellent Roggio piece about US forces organizing tribal leaders in Diayala and preparing for a major offensive this summer. Good news, but a bit too little too late, I'm afraid.

If Iraq is determined to be Sadrist, we can't really change their minds from our current posture of helping a government increasingly beholden to Sadrists.

The correct posture is to begin preparing to treat Iraq as an enemy, or at least hostile, country, with all that that entails. We don't help our enemies.

The Three Year Rule: Instapundit seems inclined to err on behalf of optimism, but he does note we've gone past the three-year rule for wars by a full year.

Even with progress in Anbar, Baghdad, and Diayala, we're realistically looking at five years, if not more. And it becomes very hard for me to justify the shedding of American blood for ungrateful barbaric bastards giving our troops the finger.

Update: Well, "someone" told me I should wait 48 hours for vetting of this story, and that Sadrists may have put out a dishonest account of the draft.

He may be right -- to some extent. How right, I don't know.

Allah updates to note this:

Deputy Speaker Khaled Al Attiyah told The Associated Press said the draft legislation had not been officially submitted to the speaker, but was currently being reviewed by the house’s legal department, apparently the final step before it can be submitted.

Al Rubaie said Al Mashhadani had a week to schedule a debate on the bill before he would use the majority that backs it to force one.

However, his majority might be shaky.

Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman said he had backed the draft but only on the condition that the withdrawal timetable be linked to a schedule for training and equipping Iraq’s security forces.

“But the sponsors of the legislation did not include our observations in the draft. This is deception,” he said.

I don't know how much that changes the story, but it does change it somewhat, and it does indicate the Sadrists are overstating their "victory" for propaganda purposes.

He also links a story that Bush is yielding to the idea of "benchmarks" for the Iraqi government's performance, which isn't very surprising, as the White House indicated a week or two ago they were open to these vague standards as a compromise measure.

I have to think that Cheney was less vague in his discussions with Iraqis. Maybe even making ultimata.

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posted by Ace at 02:23 PM

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