Put It On The Turntable, See If It Spins

How's this for spinning Bush's humiliating climbdown in accepting an Iraqi timetable for withdrawal and McCain's poor judgement in wanting a 100 year presence where the US isn't wanted? According to the WSJ's Yochi Dreazen says that Bush was right all along - the timetable can only happen because the Iraqis finally stood up so we can stand down! Wingnuts like the American Power blog are lapping it up. No mention at all of Bush's words from May, 2007:

It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.

However, the Iraqi Army has no artillery, no airpower, no logistical capacity, no field hospitals and little else that a modern armed force needs. It's a glorified internal security paramilitary police force. And it has other problems too. Even Dreazen has to admit that:

Some U.S. officials warn that the army also is still vulnerable to internal sectarian tensions. Baghdad recently ordered a Kurdish brigade operating in Diyala to move elsewhere, but the Kurds refused, saying they would only take orders from the semi-independent Kurdish government in northern Iraq.

So if the Iraqi Army are standing up, it is only a bit - and the important question is "who for?"

No, this timetable is all about Noor al-Napoleon believing his own hype and really thinking his Shiite and Kurdish factions can keep a lid on Kurds, Sunnis and the Sadrists long-term. It's unlikely to be true, but if Iraq is a free and sovereign nation then it should get to sort such questions out as it wishes to and on its own.

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