June 29, 2005

Timetable or No Timetable

So Bush just spoke on Tuesday about the situation in Iraq, and besides continuing to try to tie 9/11 to Iraq, and being a little more realistic about the slow progress in Iraq, one of his main points was that there can be no timetable for withdrawal because that would give the "terrorists" hope and knowledge that all they need to do is hold out until the US leaves.

I'm not quite sure why no-one seems to have challenged the Administration on this point. I mean, I'm no expert on this by any means, but it seems to me that in the end, right, the idea is that we want to get out of Iraq. And maybe providing a timetable will actually help things, because the "terrorists" are there at the moment to exploit the unstable situation and protest (violently) what they see as the US invasion and occupation. Surely if the US were to announce it was leaving and set a date, that would take the wind out of their sails because it would mean that it's obviously not a continuing occupation.

Could it just be that the assumption that if we provide a timetable for leaving that would be a bad thing(TM) is wrong? Could it be that that would actually be a good thing(TM)? Why is there no discussion of this.

I'm not suggesting we should leave no matter what the internal situation and just let everything descend into chaos. But how about if we (funny how I say "we" even though I'm not an American citizen) change our status from current US presence to Iraqi invitation - have them drive things, not us (by which I mean the Administration). In other words, we're not there because we want to be there, but because we're asked to be there by the Iraqi government, and they're directing everything and determining how long we stay, where we fight, what we do, etc..

I think the practical reason for this is that the Iraqi government isn't yet in a position to do that, but how about at least laying out a plan for getting there? Isn't that better than essentially having no plan at all (which is what we have now - "We'll stay until the job's done" - well what if the job never gets "done"?).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Discussion is one thing the Administration doesn't do. I guess it doesn't show "strong leadership" or something....

Posted by mthaddon at June 29, 2005 04:45 PM