Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blowing Its Spot - The Bush Administration & Withdrawal Symptoms

Not too long ago, Administration officials all the way up the food chain to the President himself, adamantly maintained that there would be no "timetables" for the withdrawal of "Coalition" [translated: American & British] forces from Iraq. Said Bush during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari: " ... [T]here are not going to be any timetables. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer."

Within a little over a month after that statement, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces planning for a withdrawal of most of the 135,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq, post haste. This sudden about face reminds one of the changing landscape in the Global War on Terrorism ... ooops - we're sorry: now it's the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism ("GSAVE"), a pointed transition from the rhetoric of unrealistic military objectives in a shadowy war with no front. Plus, Bush hawks realized the British response to the London bombings through measured focus on crime forensics and police anti-terrorism techniques drew faster results, more suspects and public resonance. In short, Blair didn't find it necessary to declare war on entire global demographics ...

Why the sudden switch to timetables? We agree with American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Michael Rubin's assessment on today's NewsHour w/ Jim Lehrer: 2006 Congressional midterms. Only 15 months away, Republicans will have to avert pending disaster at the polls over brewing public dissatisfaction with the course of the war. This threat will not only present itself in 2006, but could very well thwart GOP bids for the White House in 2008 as Americans grow more tired of protracted warfare. Indeed, Republican leaders in the House and Senate are hard pressed to maintain their unchecked and unbalanced grip on Pennsylvania Avenue.

In addition, this sudden timetable announcement, coupled with renewed diplomatic pressure on Iraqis to develop a Constitution, double-whoppered and cheezed with the recent Supreme Court nominee helps to further place Karl Rove onto the media backburner.