Sunday, June 25, 2006

WTF Iz Going On Wif IRAQ?

The GOP is screeching "Stay The Course" at the top of their lungs, shouting down any Democrat who talks about the need for a conditional timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops as a treasonous un-American "cut and run" surrender-monkey.

Meanwhile, the new Iraqi prime minister is about to announce his new "national reconciliation plan" that grants amnesty to insurgents who attacked American and Iraqi targets and features a phased withdrawal of coalition troops according to a conditional timetable.

Now, in an amazing display of message discipline, the GOP is lining up to praise the Iraqi plan as sensible and the Pentagon brass in the Green Zone in Baghdad are reportedly finishing up plans for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.


Don't be confused. It's very simple. The mighty Billmon goes over the political background for you here.
There is precedent, of a sort, for such a cynical political manuever: Richard Nixon's pronouncement, just days before the 1972 election, that "peace was at hand" in Vietnam. As it turned out, the dove of peace was still far enough out of reach that the U.S. Air Force had to bomb Hanoi round-the-clock for almost two weeks in December in order to bring it within choking distance, but by then Nixon's lie had served its purpose, which was to extinguish any faint signs of life in the electoral hopes of his hapless Democratic opponent. Rove may simply be following in the footsteps of the master.

But Nixon really did want to get out of Vietnam, and in the end was willing to sell our South Vietnamese puppets down the river in order to escape the trap -- all he and his diplomatic sidekick wanted was a decent interval to save Uncle Sam some face. Can the same be said of the Cheney Administration? Has all the recent hollering about cutting and running simply been an elaborate smoke screen to cover the preparations to, well, cut and run?
Read the whole article. Billmon asks all the right questions, and has answers for most of the answerable ones.

If you want the shorter explanation, then see this letter from a reader that Comrade Joshua published without comment:
In your blog today... "More evidence that the administration has no plan in Iraq."
I disagree. I thought months ago, and wrote you, that they plan to begin a significant drawdown before the election this fall. Their strategy is to attempt to demonize any Democrat who calls for withdrawal so that Democrats will not end up with a unified, strong stance. If Republicans can say in Sept through Nov., "See, we've taken the lead on withdrawing the troops" this will help burnish their (false) image of strength, control etc., and will gather them credit. But, if it looks like Democrats forced the issue, it would be an admission that the whole Iraq enterprise was FUBAR and the administration has had to alter course, making them look weak.

The public has already decided the war was a mistake. The Republicans are trying prevent the public from giving credit for the planned withdrawal to Democrats, and unfortunately many Democrats appear too craven to position themselves squarely in the line of fire. Unless they do I predict the withdrawal of significant numbers of troops at summer's end will redound to Bush's credit. Democrats are playing this very unwisely.
Yeah, that just about covers it.

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