Thursday, August 21, 2008

Will We Stay Or Will We Go Now?

Funny how words that were forbidden in the last presidential campaign are being tossed about like rose petals now. For instance:

Republicans, 2005:
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, a parallel debate developed over the issue of getting out of Iraq. Senate Democrats call for President Bush to provide dates for troop withdrawal was rejected by Republicans who argued establishing a time line would have negative consequences.

SEN. BILL FRIST: Some have referred to this as the cut and run provision; that is, pick an arbitrary time line and get out of Iraq regardless of what is happening on the ground.

Republicans, August 2008:

BAGHDAD (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday that U.S. and Iraqi officials agree that timetables should be set for a U.S. troop withdrawal, but conceded that nailing down a broader pact on future relations is difficult.

President Bush, November 2005:

But Mr. Bush refused again to set a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal, saying conditions in Iraq will dictate when American forces can come home. He said setting a deadline to pull out is "not a plan for victory."

John McCain, July 2008:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain could support a 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he told CNN's Larry King Monday night.

President Bush, April 2007:

Speaking in the Midwest state of Michigan Friday, Mr. Bush again criticized opposition Democrats for calling for a timetable for troop withdrawal, saying it undercuts U.S. forces at a time when there are signs of progress.
Bush Administration, July 2008:
WASHINGTON —  The United States and Iraq have agreed to seek "a general time horizon" for deeper reductions in American combat troops in Iraq despite President Bush's once-inflexible opposition to talking about deadlines and timetables.

I realize the Administration will claim we can now use such no-no words as “timetables” and “withdrawal” because of the success of the Glorious SurgeTM, but let’s not forget that Iraq’s sovereignty was a big issue stalling this security pact just two months ago. I’ve also long been of the belief that as soon as U.S. troops leave Iraq--whenever that may be--we’ll see a return of sectarian violence. For one thing, there are still troubling signs of deep sectarian division in Iraq. I’m not sure you can call the surge a success if the gains evaporate as soon as we leave.

But of course, that’s why we have all those private contractors, right? A ratio of 1:1, in fact. So even when U.S. troops do leave Iraq, will all of those Blackwater and DynCorp employees be left behind? Is it still really a withdrawal if 190,000 Americans are still there, ensuring our interests are served?