More hope and change: Bush, Maliki agree to “general time horizon” for withdrawal

posted at 1:03 pm on July 18, 2008 by Allahpundit

Obama/Bush?

The agreement, reached during a video conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks a dramatic shift for the Bush administration, which for years has condemned any talk of timetables for withdrawal…

“In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals,” the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and “the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.”

The statement continued: “The president and prime minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal.”

I don’t see how it’s a “dramatic shift.” It sounds like non-binding benchmarks by another name, e.g., “Our goal is to transfer security responsibilities in Anbar province to the Iraqi government by June 2009,” etc. Presumably it’ll give Maliki some political cover on ending the occupation and Bush some flexibility in keeping troops in place if there’s a flare-up somewhere. Besides, the objection to a timetable has never been that it’s wrong under every circumstance; it’s that it’s wrong when there’s an enemy around capable of taking advantage of it. If security really has improved to the point where troops in Baghdad are complaining that they’re bored and people who know what they’re talking about are wondering if the war is over, then what exactly is the objection now to a hazy “time horizon” for withdrawing some people, particularly when both parties agree that Afghanistan needs help? If Obama’s plan was to crush the militias and then set a schedule for leaving, no one on the right would have a problem with it. As it is, he wanted to set a schedule last year, when the country was on the brink and might have toppled over if it lost the weight of the U.S. security presence. (Some Iraqis think they’re still in no position to lose that weight.) If Team Barry tries demagoging this news as Bush somehow coming around to his position, it’ll only be because the left operates forever under the illusion that the right wants troops in the field just to have them there, for the sheer imperialistic sport of it, which supposedly makes even the slightest gesture towards exiting — victoriously, not under fire — tantamount to lefty capitulation. Can’t wait for the press release.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I just want to make this point again.

The problem of timetables in not with setting them, it is with US setting them arbitrarily

Squid Shark on July 18, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Yep, Barry will take credit for showing Bush “the light of day”.

omnipotent on July 18, 2008 at 1:11 PM

No dramatic shift at all. A reiteration of the mutual desire for rational, qualitative assessments of US resource needs, with an overall view to US reductions.

LimeyGeek on July 18, 2008 at 1:12 PM

I see this as a deliberate MSM misinterpretation. These aren’t timetables. How many times has Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, even the generals said that they looked to start reducing the troops around a certain timeframe.

It’s the SAME THING here. But it suits the MSM (paid by Obama and Soros’ 52 million) talking points.

Skywise on July 18, 2008 at 1:12 PM

I commented on HA before that by Nov. ’08 Barack O. will claim to have won the war in Iraq.

Entelechy on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Here ‘s another way to call this by The Hill – Bush, Maliki agree on NOT setting withdrawal timeline .

Anita on July 18, 2008 at 1:16 PM

I just want to make this point again.

The problem of timetables in not with setting them, it is with US setting them arbitrarily

Squid Shark on July 18, 2008 at 1:08 PM

.
Exactly right. And no matter how the press tries to spin this, it sounds like Bush and Maliki are doing precisely that.

Think_b4_speaking on July 18, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Exactly right. And no matter how the press tries to spin this, it sounds like Bush and Maliki are doing precisely that.

Think_b4_speaking on July 18, 2008 at 1:17 PM

.
Meaning, not setting them arbitrarily……

Think_b4_speaking on July 18, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Got news for you idiots in the MSM. If Bush waited until the last minute and then called Maliki on the red phone and said, “Okay, we’re pulling them out tomorrow” THAT WOULD BE A TIMETABLE!!!!!

fossten on July 18, 2008 at 1:21 PM

I commented on HA before that by Nov. ‘08 Barack O. will claim to have won the war in Iraq.

Entelechy on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM

If this meadhead gets elected, it will be fun over time to watch the news media eat their young. A healthy dose of humble pie is what this fool needs. And, if he gets elected, that is exacxctly what he will get. Imagine the press conferences.

He has been playing ball in South Chicago with a real easy sheeple crowd. Wait till the big boys chew his ass. He can’t hang in that shooting gallery. They will drag him kicking and screaming out into the sunshine.

saiga on July 18, 2008 at 1:22 PM

You knew this would happen…you have to leave sometime. All the politics that go with it.

tomas on July 18, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Just the MSM buttressing the Obama position. Just like the ‘negotiating’ and ‘liason office’ stories. They believe (and may not be wrong) that the plebs won’t be able to tell the difference between Barry’s vision and the ‘new’ Bush policy.

Limerick on July 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM

First things first, WaPo, Bush is in Tucson not Tuscon.

This entire story is nothing new.

MB007 on July 18, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Time tables?

Time lines?

General time horizon?

What’s next? Time frames?

The narcissism of small differences.

MB4 on July 18, 2008 at 1:27 PM

See, now Obambo can REALLY claim his holy mantle; he knew all the facts on the ground before they happened. Only the true Messiah™ could do that…I’m in awe.

As Dan Rather would say, “Osama bin Laden ’08″!

Bishop on July 18, 2008 at 1:29 PM

The main objection wasn’t setting a goal as to when to be out of there. The objection is setting a binding goal that doesn’t take into account the conditions on the ground at the time. Dems wanted to tie funding to a definitive, regardless-of-conditions date, with Obama even saying that stopping genocide wasn’t a good enough reason to stay.

amerpundit on July 18, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Not a biggy and not a particularly good opportunity for Barry. I like having the Iraqi issue in front of the public every day. He can’t avoid his defeatist position on the surge and it’s effect on being able to move troops out after they have accomplished their mission. All the rest just follows the old saying that success has many fathers and failure has but one. I think trying to take credit for the timetable issue will hurt him,..too obvious.

a capella on July 18, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Heck, even McCain has said that he wants most troops home by 2013. That’s a goal. But unlike the Dems, he’s not saying that we’ll just pull out without taking the situation into consideration.

amerpundit on July 18, 2008 at 1:33 PM

If Team Barry tries demagoging this news as Bush somehow coming around to his position***

He won’t do that. He’ll use this agreement as evidence that his plan for withdrawal was the right idea from the start, and that McCain is the warmonger for not agreeing to a fixed timetable for getting out of Iraq.

Outlander on July 18, 2008 at 1:40 PM

I commented on HA before that by Nov. ‘08 Barack O. will claim to have won the war in Iraq.

Entelechy on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM

I’d bet you turn out to be right.

Gilda on July 18, 2008 at 1:48 PM

A KFC in Fallujah. If that aint a sign of victory, what it?

http://northshorejournal.org/kentucky-fried-chicken-sizzles-in-fallujah

blue13326 on July 18, 2008 at 1:50 PM

I commented on HA before that by Nov. ‘08 Barack O. will claim to have won the war in Iraq.

Entelechy on July 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM

I’d bet you turn out to be right.

Gilda on July 18, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Ditto. Plus the lefty lemmings will be cheering for this war they loved to hate for the last 5 years.

cntrlfrk on July 18, 2008 at 1:51 PM

I just want to point out a few things that are lost in the discussion.

Most of the time tables for withdraw, pre-date the Surge, lets go with Summer of 2005 with the elections as a time frame. Before the Surge. Lets be honest, Iraq was in bad shape. No way we would even think about being out by 2011. The conditions on the ground meant we had to stay and secure the peace. The left used emotions and said lets get out. Made all kinds of promises that they would get the troops home by 2006. That became 2007, which became 2008, now 2009, wait, I could be wrong, they may now be saying 2010.

So, since their failed withdrawal of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 did not work, they will claim they got their way 5 years later?

Come on, lets be honest. Bush won this battle. He just about always gets his way. Just about every fight with the Dems, Bush won. His losses were in fights with the right. To see how Bush always wins and gets the last laugh go to Drudge. Look at Arnold sucking up tp Bush after making some stupid remarks about Global Warning just a week ago.

In the end, the Surge helped create a safer Iraq. Now we can envision the troops coming home. Now it is OK to talk about goals of them coming home. Why? Because we have just about wiped out AQI. The Iraqi Army is standing up and the Iraqis seem to trust them more than us, though we are a security blanket for them. But at some time, the security blank has to be packed away.

WoosterOh on July 18, 2008 at 1:51 PM

I should add, along he Arnold line about sucking up to him.

Last nights link about McCain and Saddam, Bush and is F_ Saddam.

Remember that meeting recently when Bush teased about US being the biggest polluter? What was he saying?

When Bush leaves the WH, he can tell the Dems “Kiss my @SS”, because in the end, they almost always did.

WoosterOh on July 18, 2008 at 1:55 PM

General time horizon

Something from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?

Bigfoot on July 18, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Barry Obama: We need a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq because we’ve lost the war.

Bush: We need a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq because we’ve won the war.

fossten on July 18, 2008 at 2:07 PM

The “timetable” that isn’t should be based upon the recognition that it is now time to move on, inasmuch as we now have a “democracy” in Iraq. “Democracy” – I love that term. It doesn’t exist here [America is a Federal Republic], or anywhere else, for that matter, but, by golly, we have it in Iraq.

Next up – “Democracy” in Syria? “Democracy” in Iran? “Democracy” in Sudan? “Democracy” in Egypt [especially after Mubarak is gone]? “Democracy” in Chad? “Democracy” in Ethiopia? “Democracy” in Somalia? “Democracy” in Eritrea?

After all, if establishing a “democracy” in Iraq was the tool for suppressing al qaida, doesn’t it make sense to establish “democracy” elsewhere, where al qaida can be found? Why stop in Iraq? We know that Bin Hidin’ was just a “figurehead.” That exterminating him doesn’t really matter. So, let’s write off Afghanistan, Waziristan and Pakistan.

We have “democracy” to build, elsewhere. Other places where Bin Hidin’ isn’t.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 18, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Barry Obama: We need a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq because we’ve lost the war.

Bush: We need a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq because we’ve won the war.

fossten on July 18, 2008 at 2:07 PM

fossten, dude you are not allowed to exhibit this kind of clarity, you are supposed to be all torn up & conflicted over the ‘illegal occupation’ of Iraq and the wars of aggression the US keeps fighting. What is this? Always looking out for number #1, America instead of yourself. How many carbon credits until we ram it into to your silly clear thinking head, coal makes you sick, occupation makes you sick, winning is bad for your nation’s health, it is making your population ill, you need to stop thinking about winning, it makes the loser feel bad.

Better to withdraw in defeat and say I told you so. You see, you lost, are you happy now!?

saus on July 18, 2008 at 2:32 PM

A note to all liberal media outlets:
To the CNN liberals and liberals elsewhere:
We have won the war in Iraq!!!! Altogether now liberals, repeat after me,
“We have won the war in Iraq!!!!”
Congratulations to our troops!
Also make note of this liberals and repeat after me,
“Even though we have won the war in Iraq, there will continue to be no time tables announced for our withdrawl of troops.” Repeat after me, liberals, “No time table for withdrawl.”
Have a wonderful victory in Iraq day!

Travis1 on July 18, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Biden was flapping his gums about this today, calling a dramatic shift blah blah blah. He is either obtuse or deliberately deceptive. {Or both} I have been hearing for some time that Bush was hoping for troop drawdowns by the election this fall.

The thing with the socalled anti war side of the issue is that they seem to think we either have to stay forever or run away this very minute. They do not seem to grasp there are other options.

I think Bush is trying to nail this down before he leaves and Maliki wants to deal with it as well before their elections in October.

Terrye on July 18, 2008 at 5:40 PM

saus on July 18, 2008 at 2:32 PM

In light of your post, I feel we should go ahead and surrender in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, and Bosnia.

fossten on July 18, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Something from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?

-Bigfoot

I believe that’s event horizon, and I don’t think that Bush and the gang would want that:

Light emitted from inside the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer’s side is never seen again.

ChenZhen on July 18, 2008 at 7:02 PM

It’s not a dramatic shift because it’s what Bush has been saying for a while now. Return on success.

SoulGlo on July 18, 2008 at 10:24 PM