Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's Not Cutting and Running, It's a Graceful Detachment in Retrograde Motion
The hottest headline in the blogosphere today comes from the AP via The Guardian, about a conference on Iraq being held by Arab nations:
Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.

The final communique, hammered out at the end of three days of negotiations at a preparatory reconciliation conference under the auspices of the Arab League, condemned terrorism, but was a clear acknowledgment of the Sunni position that insurgents should not be labeled as terrorists if their operations do not target innocent civilians or institutions designed to provide for the welfare of Iraqi citizens.
Or, as John at AMERICABlog put it, the Iraqi leadership has adopted Congressman Murtha's position. (By Cheney's definition, that means they're now giving aid and comfort to the enemy.) More ominously, as Nitpicker said, "Iraq's leaders just painted a bullseye on the backs of American soldiers and said they're fair game." Which prompted Pandagon to observe, "The crazy thing is, this probably doesn't change anything. Not for Bush. Not for Biden. Not for Hillary."

But if the more-specific report in an Arab newspaper is true--that U.S. officials proposed the timetable the conference is talking about (U.S. out by sometime in 2007), this is actually the administration's pretext for getting out. They could spin it as neither cutting nor running, but as bowing to the wishes of the duly elected peoples' representatives in Iraq. Imagine how such a plan might play when tossed into the 2006 campaign. It would change the political calculus of the war in an instant, and put Democrats of all stripes into a hell of a box.

Never mind how dishonest it is for the administration to attack people for the remotest suggestion of withdrawal while at the same time making arrangements for it. We're long past the point where this administration's dishonesty is even worth noticing anymore.

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