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Time Is On Our Side

Well, Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki is quoted as saying that he wants an agreement with the United States that includes a firm timetable for the withdrawal of our troops. President Bush, apparently, disagrees with that idea. So do I. The particulars are to be worked out -- presumably, in private.

That's just fine with me. Because that is how things are done between allies.

Maliki's position (which I am taking at face value -- and that might be a mistake, as the article is sourced to the Associated Press) is that once the agreement is finalized and certain milestones ttowards Iraq's security and independence are reached.

That, to me, is the key part.

I have always argued that the withdrawal of US combat forces should be based not on a calendar, but on landmarks. For the US to announce a specific schedule for withdrawal would give the terrorists a new way of winning -- all they have to do is hunker down and survive, and they would win by default. I always said that our withdrawal should be based on events. Or, as President Bush put it, "we will stand down as the Iraqis stand up."

This idea of a timetable linked to milestones seems a fair compromise. Currently, things are going fairly well in Iraq (last week, no Americans were killed in combat there, I heard), no thanks to the defeatists in Congress and the media and the Nutroots. Putting together concrete plans that go beyond the current situation and look ahead to a truly independent Iraq is a very good thing.

I fully expect that the United States will have troops in Iraq for some time to come, quite possibly indefinitely. It is in our strategic interests to keep a sizable military presence in the Middle East, much like it was good for us to keep hefty forces in Europe during the Cold War.

Overall, having US troops stationed in your country is a good thing. They tend to boost both the economy and security of the nation -- just ask Germany, Japan, Korea, or England.

And if our hosts happen to change their minds, we are quite obliging about leaving without any fuss -- talk to the Philippines or Saudi Arabia about that one.


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Comments (22)

I can see where Maliki is t... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I can see where Maliki is thinking that an agreement to a firm timetable might guarantee US support for a longer period of time than what he might get from an Obama presidency that might withdraw all troops rapidly depending on which of his espoused policies Obama decides to follow.

Also, an agreement with Pre... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Also, an agreement with President Bush would likely be honored, as opposed to one made with an unknown Obama administration.

I fully expect Obama to scr... (Below threshold)
JLawsonn:

I fully expect Obama to screw over Iraq the same way VietNam was screwed in '75.

Sure would like to be wrong on that, but the Democrats do have something of a track record on that.

You have to wonder, though.... (Below threshold)
cirby:

You have to wonder, though...

By "timetable," do they mean a Democrat-style timetable of "out in six months," or do they mean "start out slow in six months, and take four or five years, with a permanent presence of US troops?"

"based not on a calendar, b... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"based not on a calendar, but on landmarks"

What kind of a "landmark" indicates that U.S. forces should withdraw? Perhaps a big sign saying

"Yankee go home."

or

"Love the democracy. Thanks. See ya!"

or

"We've grown apart."

Works for me, Adrian. As I ... (Below threshold)

Works for me, Adrian. As I noted, the US has a damned good record of accepting and respecting that sort of thing.

J.

Folks in the mid east hate ... (Below threshold)
GovtFlu:

Folks in the mid east hate the US, Iraqis epically. There is no enemy or terrorists in Iraqi-nam, just pissed off Iraqis. US citizens would fight an unprovoked attack & "abu ghraib" occupation based on lies.

Iraqi parliament members told Congress last month if there was a clear timetable for US troop withdrawal, the warring factions would lose much of their rationale & public support to fight U.S. forces. Who knows more about Iraq?, McClown, King George the inept, or Iraqis? They don't want us there, we're unwanted intruders.. don't you people read history? the Brits tried & failed to occupy & rule Iraq.. Iraqis simply won't have it without violence. Our losers leaders learned nothing from history.

sounds to me like Maliki is... (Below threshold)

sounds to me like Maliki is thinking that if he has a firm timetable with benchmarks for minimum security before troops pull out the Obamanation can't then pursue his quickstep exit because then the US will be voiding the plan.

It looks like a planned end-around to prevent the demonrats from forcing defeat on the US if they win the Residency. (sorry if Obama is in the White House I'll only consider him a resident. :P )

"There is no enemy or terro... (Below threshold)
cirby:

"There is no enemy or terrorists in Iraqi-nam"

...except for all of the ones we've killed. Why is it that, despite the leftists myth of "it's only Iraqis who are shooting at us," that we keep killing al-Qaeda big shots and terrorists from other countries, armed with weapons FROM those countries?

The "Iraqi-nam" line is hilarious. The left really, REALLY needs to keep the "Vietnam" label going to have a chance this November. Too bad it's not working, though. Even the press is starting to notice that hey, the surge actually WORKED (despite all of the things the entire top-line Democrat leadership claimed last hear).

Funny, if Maliki was a Demo... (Below threshold)

Funny, if Maliki was a Democrat, Bush and the kool aid drinkers would be all over him, calling him an ignorant defeatist and claiming he was going to give away all the gains made over the past number of months.

The leftist for the most pa... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The leftist for the most part have no ability to reason or discuss within the parameters of a post. They are that slow. ww

TIME TO GET OUT <br... (Below threshold)

TIME TO GET OUT

Regardless what the original intent, it is high time Iraqis were given their nation back before too few are left to remember that most Shiite, Sunni or Kurd Iraqis described themselves as Iraqis above all else and religious or sectarian group members second.....

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-fear-withdrawal-from-iraq.html

Funny, if Maliki was a D... (Below threshold)

Funny, if Maliki was a Democrat, Bush and the kool aid drinkers would be all over him, calling him an ignorant defeatist and claiming he was going to give away all the gains made over the past number of months.

If he had done this before or even during "the surge" like a majority of Democrats did (like Harry "We've lost" Reid), then yeah, you're probably right, Maliki could be labeled a defeatist--if not a AQI or Al-Sadr sympathizer and possibly hostile to the government. But that didn't happen because Maliki understood the situation prior to "the surge" unlike The Donkey Party.

So your "point" is moot and feckless. Standard.

He doesn't specify dates, a... (Below threshold)
mantis:

He doesn't specify dates, and his national security adviser says it would be "conditioned on the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security." This is not new. Maliki supported the same dateless, security-conditional timetable back in '06.

The plan also calls for a withdrawal timetable for coalition forces from Iraq, but it doesn't specify an actual date--one of the Sunnis' key demands. It calls for "the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq's security," and asks that a U.N. Security Council decree confirm the timetable. Mahmoud Othman, a National Assembly member who is close to President Talabani, said that no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable. The problem is specifying a date, which the United States has rejected as playing into the insurgents' hands. But Othman didn't rule out that reconciliation negotiations called for in the plan might well lead to setting a date. "That will be a problem between the Iraqi government and the other side [the insurgents], and we will see how it goes. It's not very clear yet."

Two years later, and they are saying exactly the same thing. Is this news?

"The left really, REALLY ne... (Below threshold)
Ed:

"The left really, REALLY needs to keep the "Vietnam" label going to have a chance this November. "

And yet it's post #3 FROM THE RIGHT that first makes this connection. Fool.

The left really, REALLY ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

The left really, REALLY needs to keep the "Vietnam" label going to have a chance this November.

1) Democrats = "The left"? Steny Hoyer makes this guy look like a liberal.
2) McCain's incoherent campaign is not resonating with anybody except his media fluffers and his reluctant conservative supporters.

Rather than just making shit up, you guys could instead take a page from the left's playbook and just get drunk and bellicose until the party you support has a shot at governing again in eight years.

It's all kabuki theater. </... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

It's all kabuki theater.

The US is paying the Iraq government's enemies (the Sunni insurgents and partisans) to not fight Maliki's government which cuts the odds of Maliki getting assassinated (for incompetence) by his own Shiite co-religionists, not to mention getting blown to smithereens by the Sunnis. So Maliki is hamming it up. Which also helps Bush's claim of progress to those with short attention spans. As for Bush's hapless predicament in having to chirp in, "Uh, not so quick there...": Bush used up his show-off priveliges in 2004. He's cut off now. No car keys no mo'.

The crux: US boots are required for the oil war and security program and thus we shall stay in force in perpetuity according to the convergence in CFR and neocon doctrines. Obama will "regretfully" concur, BTW.

Bottom line: the linked article is a sugary example of yet another Friedman Unit.
Mantis is correct. Nothing new. Just convenient at this time.

Congratulations Jay.<... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Congratulations Jay.

Jay was one of the first to post the Bush submissives spin on this development. It's been parroted all day by the conservabots and moron media.

Does everyone on the right get the talking points by osmosis or is it a creepy Invasion of the Body Snatcher thing.

It's fascinating to see you robots in action.

Rather than just m... (Below threshold)
Rather than just making shit up, you guys could instead take a page from the left's playbook and just get drunk and bellicose until the party you support has a shot at governing again in eight years.

You can laugh now, but when Canada starts feeling the effects of President Obama's screwing up the country, methinks it'll be you guys up north who'll be crying into your beer.

Has anyone noticed that the... (Below threshold)
John S:

Has anyone noticed that the media has blacked out coverage of Iraq? It's not your imagination, by actual minutes network coverage this year is down 90 PERCENT! Why is this so? It's because the Obama press is trying to supress an Inconvenient Truth until November. The Iraq war is OVER. And WE won. Read the foreign wires. al Qaeda in Iraq has been crushed and driven out of the country. Obama won't be able to find anyone to surrender to...

You think McCain will flip ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

You think McCain will flip flop on his earlier pledge to get of Iraq if the government asks us? I watched an old video of McCain saying we should most certainly get out if the Iraq government asks us to.

McCains campaign is sunk. Prime Minister Maliki totaly undermined McCain on this core issue.

OMG Maliki must be a terror... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

OMG Maliki must be a terrorist because words that came from his mouth benefit the Democrat candidate! (/wingnut)




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