Well, just 24 hours after I predicted in this week’s column that the Iraqi leadership would soon ask us to withdraw, the Iraqi leadership has announced that it will soon ask us to withdraw. The announcement, reported in the New York Times and other outlets, came at a meeting in Egypt sponsored by the Arab League. Leaders from all three of Iraq’s main factions, the Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shia Arabs, agreed that a timetable for Coalition withdrawal should be sought. The withdrawal would be timed against milestones in the recruitment and training of the Iraqi Security forces.
Of course, the Times, could not simply report this significant development without twisting it to score some points for their own insurgency against the Bush administration. The Times piece began:
For the first time, Iraq’s political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit itself to a pullout schedule.
Even for the Times, this is an idiotic parallel to draw. Let me explain the difference succinctly. If we withdraw under fire for lack of will to fight and allow Iraq to collapse (a.k.a. the Democrats’ plan), we lose. America’s reputation as a military power is smashed and Iraq becomes a terrorist safe haven like Afghanistan once was, but with rich oil fields.
If, on the other hand, we withdraw at the official request of a stable Iraqi government capable of running the country without our help (a.k.a. Bush’s plan), we win. Remember? Facilitating a stable, democratically chosen government in Iraq has been the goal for two and a half years now. Perhaps the Times recalls someone announcing that the plan for victory was “As the Iraqis stand up, we shall stand down”?
But other than one scenario being pretty much a total victory and the other scenario being a humiliating world changing defeat, then yes, the two are just alike and both will be a defeat for Bush.