Via the mighty wingmen of BTN. I mentioned this exchange in last night’s post about the House vote but you have to see it to believe it. Pitiful.
Michael Yon told Hugh Hewitt yesterday from Baghdad that he’s finally starting to believe the surge is working. Gen. Mixon shares his opinion and thinks Diyala might be secure enough to allow for a gradual partial withdrawal starting in January — but half the forces would have to remain for another year or 18 months to support the Iraqi Army if things go well. How workable is that time frame? Baker-Hamilton, the likely compromise plan, calls for total withdrawal by the end of 2008 and even if Bush convinces Congress to give Petraeus as much time as possible, the extended tours of duty for surge troops end in April.
Iraqi leaders are worried about the timetable too but wonder what we would have them do — make a deal they’re unhappy with just to be able to say they’ve made a deal, which will then be rescinded and turn into war the moment we leave anyway? Exit question: Isn’t a forced compromise at least marginally better than a pullout with no compromise at all? At least in the first case you’ve got something to try to build on.
Update: Wow. I assumed they were going to try to force Bush’s hand by tacking on amendments to the spending bill. No thanks, say Warner and Lugar — we want a whole new war statute. That’s potentially a big deal because it might encourage Congress to be much more aggressive in its demands. Think of it as analogous to revising the tax code via amendments versus rewriting the tax code from scratch. You’re likely to end up with more dramatic changes in the latter format than the former because you’re working on a blank canvas. Quote:
[A]nticipation for the Warner-Lugar plan has quietly built all week, particularly among the Republicans who have called for a new course in Iraq. The senators said lawmakers from both parties have expressed an interest in endorsing the plan, although it remained an open question whether it went far enough for several Democratic critics.
Update: Simple but effective.