We've just witnessed a ferocious two weeks of attacks over the future direction of our policy in Iraq. And in that brawl, the White House and its surrogates have launched all manner of attacks against those who would 'cut and run' before 'our job is finshed' in Iraq,
Now comes this article
in Saturday's Los Angeles Times
which reports that said turbo-testicular worthies have reviewed the situation and -- surprise, surprise
! -- our job appears to be almost done.
Bearing the good news ...
In a departure from past statements, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi troops has advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops probably will not be needed for much longer.
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in which aides say he is expected to proclaim the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for withdrawing U.S. forces.
Some analysts say the emerging consensus might have less to do with conditions in Iraq than the long-term strain of the deployment on the U.S. military. And major questions over the readiness of Iraq's fledgling security forces pose risks for any strategy that calls for an accelerated American troop withdrawal.
As recently as late September, senior U.S. military commanders told a congressional hearing that just one Iraqi battalion, about 700 soldiers, was considered capable of conducting combat operations fully independent of any U.S. support. Administration officials now dismiss that measure of military readiness, saying more Iraqi units are able to perform advanced operations each day.
I'm going to way out on a limb and take James Fallows' word
over the president's and assume that there's been no radical turnaround in the training and functioning of the Iraqi Army over the last couple months.
And if that's true, it clarifies this essential point: there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That's over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president's partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections.