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July 18, 2008

Bush, Maliki Agree to Vague "Timelines"

It seems to undercut John McCain -- and it will certainly play out that way -- but Allah explains why it doesn't, assuming you know what they're really talking about.

The trouble is, most people won't know that, or won't bother to learn.

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…

“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.”

Here's Allah:

[T]he objection to a timetable has never been that it’s wrong under every circumstance; it’s that it’s wrong when there’s an enemy around capable of taking advantage of it. If security really has improved to the point where troops in Baghdad are complaining that they’re bored and people who know what they’re talking about are wondering if the war is over, then what exactly is the objection now to a hazy “time horizon” for withdrawing some people, particularly when both parties agree that Afghanistan needs help? If Obama’s plan was to crush the militias and then set a schedule for leaving, no one on the right would have a problem with it.

Yes, well, the right's position has never been "stay forever, no matter what." Our position has always been "stay until victory (or, for those wavering among us, stay at least until it is absolutely clear victory is impossible), and then get out."

Who the hell has ever argued otherwise? We've said a million times we do in fact have an exit strategy: Victory. And, it seems, that exit strategy will actually result in a quicker exit from Iraq, with far fewer casualties suffered by US troops, let alone Iraqis, than Obama's "plan."

If Obama's plan had been adopted, we'd still have a lot of troops in Iraq, withdrawing them brigade by brigade, but they would be suffering the casualty rate we saw in 2006-2007. And what would have in exchange for that higher number of US dead? A defeat in a major war.*

Again, though, the fact that we've effectively won (or at least 90% of the way towards an effective victory; we're no longer at the end of the beginning, nor even the beginning of the end, but are actually somewhat close to the end of the end) seems to play into Obama's hands. Obama, the dude whose vaunted "judgment" was to lose a major war that could be won. Obama, the dude who still wants to attempt to lose the war if it's at all possible, just to satisfy the hard-left's need for a chastened America and a defeated Bush.

It's kind of crazy that it does, but then, I guess liberals thought it was kinda crazy that Bush got mad support from the public despite not stopping 9/11.

* Actually, now that I think about it, that's kind of a huge point, and one McCain ought to begin hammering at every single campaign or media appearance.

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posted by Ace at 04:19 PM

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