White House to Offer Iraq Plan of Gradual Cuts
The White House plans to use a report next month assessing progress in Iraq to outline a plan for gradual troop reductions beginning next year that would fall far short of the drawdown demanded by Congressional opponents of the war, according to administration and military officials.This of course is nothing new. I think Ed Morrissey gets it about right.
One administration official made it clear that the goal of the planned announcement was to counter public pressure for a more rapid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on “a sustainable footing” at least through the end of the Bush presidency.
The officials said the White House would portray its approach as a new strategy for Iraq, a message aimed primarily at the growing numbers of Congressional Republicans who have criticized President Bush’s handling of the war. Many Republicans have urged Mr. Bush to unveil a new strategy, and even to propose a gradual reduction of American troops to the levels before this year’s troop increase — about 130,000 — or even lower to head off Democratic-led efforts to force the withdrawal of all combat forces by early next year.
Either the Times wants to sell this as a reversal, or the White House wants to sell it as a sop to Democratic opposition to the war. Either way, it only makes sense as a withdrawal or reduction if people considered the surge elevation as a permanent deployment, which even the Bush administration didn't request. The surge has always been considered a temporary measure designed to give Iraq enough room to mature its own security forces and to conduct some political reform.Of course Ed doesn't mention that the administration simply doesn't have the resources to do anything else. Reductions must start in April when they start running out of soldiers. While al-Maliki is making noises about political progress it would appear he is not getting any takers on the Sunni side which means it will go no where. Once the reductions begin any security improvements will simply evaporate.
Meanwhile Ayad Allawi chose the Washington Post to announce his upcoming coup. He is seen as an American puppet and I can't see him getting anymore support than al-Maliki.