UPDATE: Okay, I read the story again. Guess what? They're talking about only withdrawing 28,000 trooops by the end of next year - that would leave 100,000 US troops in Iraq at least into 2008. So, they're trying to have their cake and eat it too. Not really withdraw much of anyone, but at the same time appease the American public with a "withdrawal" announcement just in time for the election.
They've got to be kidding. The same week the Republicans and the White House viciously and personally attack Democrats for wanting to establish a timetable to start withdrawing US troops from Iraq, the top US general in Iraq has now created a detailed timetable for partially withdrawing US troops from Iraq, and George Bush himself has seemingly signed off on it.
Seriously, they have to be kidding. For an entire two weeks they attack Democrats as wanting to "cut and run," as traitors who are helping Osama, and now we find out that Bush has already okayed his own plan to "cut and run" from Iraq with FAR MORE details than the Democrats ever had.
The United States has 14 combat brigades in Iraq, plus many other support troops. Under the plan, the United States would shrink this force to 12 combat brigades in September. This would be done by not replacing 2 brigades that are scheduled to be withdrawn.Where to even begin responding to this?
A combat brigade would be kept on alert in Kuwait or elsewhere in case American commanders needed to augment their forces to deal with a crisis. Another brigade would be kept on a lesser state of alert elsewhere in the world, but still prepared to deploy quickly. As a result of these arrangements, the plan to bring the combat force down to 12 active brigades in Iraq is being called 12-1-1.
Further reductions might be made by the end of the year. By December, the number of American combat brigades in Iraq would be 10 to 12. As with the September reduction, a brigade would be kept on alert and another brigade would be ready to deploy.
According to the projections in General Casey's briefing, the number of combat brigades would shrink to seven to eight by June 2007 and finally to five to six by December 2007.
At the same time, the number of bases in Iraq would decline as American forces consolidated. By the end of the year the number of bases would shrink to 57 from the current 69. By June 2007, there would be 30 bases, and by December 2007 there would be only 11.
1. Bush just adopted the Democrats' plan. A plan he and Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman and the Republican Congress savaged all week.
2. To use Bush's own language, he just provided "the enemy" with DETAILED dates for the withdrawal and the exact number of troops we would withdraw and where they remaining troops would be stationed.
3. What changed in Iraq for the better in the past two days that let the White House come up with a timetable for a partial withdrawal? Was it the kidnapping of 85 to 100 people north of Baghdad? Was it the US embassy memo saying the situation is deteriorating? There are no facts whatsoever to suggest that the situation in Iraq has improved at all, so what possibly can Bush be basing this on other than political pandering for the upcoming US elections?
4. Isn't it nice to know that the US military is now actively trying to influence US elections?
5. Check out the small mention the NYT gives the hypocrisy of the GOP:
Now, after criticizing Democratic lawmakers for trying to legislate a timeline for withdrawing troops, skeptics say, the Bush administration seems to have its own private schedule, albeit one that can be adjusted as events unfold.Skeptics? Would the Times report that "skeptics say humans breathe oxygen?" Do facts not exist any longer in American media circles? The Republicans spent all week savaging the Dems for talking about beginning a withdrawal. Does the Murtha plan sound vaguely familiar to anyone over at the Times? And now that Bush has a plan for a partial withdrawal, suddenly only "skeptics" are the ones seeing some rather large hypocrisy here. The GOP about-face should be THE story, not a few lines in the story. Not to mention, where is the quote in the story about the administration being asked about the hypocrisy? There's nothing - it would seem the Times didn't bother asking.
Bush and the Republican Congress just spent two weeks lying to the American people about Iraq, yet again.