Posted by Curt on 9 July, 2008 at 9:54 am. 9 comments already!

Iraq wants to set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq:

A deadline should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Iraq, and the pullout could be done by 2011, an Iraqi government spokesman said Tuesday.

A deadline should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Iraq, and the pullout could be done by 2011, an Iraqi government spokesman said Tuesday.


But in Washington, State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said U.S. negotiators are “looking at conditions, not calendars.”

“Two things we’ve made very clear from the beginning of the process — the first is that we’re going to deal as sovereign nations working towards an agreement that satisfies both of our needs, and secondly that we’re not going to be discussing individual parts of this negotiations during the negotiation process itself,” Gallegos said.

To which Harry Reid said:

“We have trained 700,000 Iraqi troops. We’ve spent almost a trillion dollars on Iraq. I agree with Malaki, I think we should have a timeline,” Reid said. “Let’s take off the training wheels and let Iraq handle their own affairs.”

Reid agreeing that a withdrawal from Iraq is a good thing? Get outta here…./sarcasm

Now back to reality. There is a huge difference between Democrats calling for withdrawal from Iraq during a period of time when Iraq was in shambles and a sovereign Iraq calling for withdrawal of American troops from their own country when their country is in the closest thing to a state of peace Iraq has seen in decades. Oh, there is still violence there, as there is in every American city, but their military has shown the world that they are becoming capable and ready to defend their own country on their own. Obviously they are not completely there yet as evidenced by Iraq calling for a withdrawal in 2 and half years…but they’re getting there. This 2 1/2 year timetable is proof positive that Maliki understands what a precipitous withdrawal could do to the country. Iran is licking its chops and while AQ is on the ropes, they are not completely defeated. Maliki saw what happened when the British pulled out of Basra too soon, its obvious he doesn’t want that to happen again.

Bush has said for years that our troops will stay until Iraq can stand on its own:

All our efforts are aimed at a clear goal: a free Iraq that can protect its people, support itself economically, and take charge of its own political affairs. No one wants to achieve this goal more than the Iraqis themselves. Those who say that the way to encourage further progress is to back off and force the Iraqis to fend for themselves are simply wrong. The Iraqis are a proud people who understand the enormity of the challenges they face and are anxious to meet them. But they know that they still need our help until they can stand by themselves. Our job in the period ahead is to stand with the Iraqi government as it makes tough choices and makes the transition to responsibility for its own security and its own destiny.

And in 2005:

some are calling for us to withdraw from Iraq on a fixed timetable, without regard to conditions on the ground. Recently, one Democratic leader came out in support of an artificial deadline for withdrawal, and said an immediate withdrawal of our troops would, “make the American people safer, our military stronger, and bring some stability to the region.” [ed. ex-Marine John Murtha] That’s the wrong policy for our government. Withdrawing on an artificial deadline would endanger the American people, would harm our military, and make the Middle East less stable. It would give the terrorists exactly what they want.

Now the conditions on the ground obviously calls for a reduction in troops, which is happening as we speak, and also calls for negotiating with a sovereign Iraq about the status of our troops.

But keep crowing Harry.

Ed Morrissey:

Democrats wanted timetables for withdrawal in order to surrender in Iraq, not after Iraqi security and stability had been achieved. Not even the Iraqis want the US out that quickly, nor on a 16-month schedule offered by Barack Obama. They want American troops to leave when they foresee their own army and internal security forces achieving the necessary strength to keep Iraq secure, internally and externally, and not before.

It’s the difference between discussing withdrawal timetables from Europe in 1944 and 1946.

When the final version of the security agreement is released you can bet that if there is a timetable, there will be conditions for that withdrawal. Specifically the conditions on the ground, as Bush has said all along.


Murdoc Online points out that this is not the type of withdrawal that the Democrats have been pulling for. Evidence of this can be seen in this article from the Army Times: (h/t Formerly Known As Skeptic)

The Iraqi proposal stipulates that, once Iraqi forces have resumed security responsibility in all 18 of Iraq’s provinces, U.S.-led forces would then withdraw from all cities in the country.

After that, the country’s security situation would be reviewed every six months, for three to five years, to decide when U.S.-led troops would pull out entirely, al-Adeeb said.

Once again, “conditions on the ground.”

More here.

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