September Could Be Key Deadline in War
Congressional leaders from both political parties are giving President Bush a matter of months to prove that the Iraq war effort has turned a corner, with September looking increasingly like a decisive deadline.So what will happen in September? I think Kevin Drum gets it right.
In that month, political pressures in Washington will dovetail with the military timeline in Baghdad. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, has said that by then he will have a handle on whether the current troop increase is having any impact on political reconciliation between Iraq's warring factions. And fiscal 2008, which begins Oct. 1, will almost certainly begin with Congress placing tough new strings on war funding.
When September rolls around Gen. David Petraeus is almost certain to report that things are tough but progress is being made on the ground. And he'll have metrics of some kind to back him up. What else is he going to do, after all? You can almost write his script right now.Well almost right - it will be more than the "moderates". And of course there are two Republican time lines.
But political progress? There are virtually no positive signs right now, and after 18 months of stalling it's unlikely that 18 more weeks are going to make a difference. What's more, I'm inclined to think that there are at least a handful of moderate Republicans who are genuinely serious about abandoning Bush this time around. This time, it looks like six months might really mean six months.
"There were always two debates in the debate over timelines to end the war," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). "George W. Bush is hellbent on January 20, 2009, when he walks out of the door, leaving a box stamped 'Iraq' for the next president. The Republicans are hellbent on not going through the next election with Iraq tied to their ankles. All Boehner said publicly was what Republicans have been saying privately for months."That of course brings us to the Republicans who hope to be their parties nominee for President - do they want Bush's Mesopotamian debacle dumped in their laps?