The Phased Withdrawal Talk Has Begun


From ABC News, a report on the Dems' plan for getting the hell out of Iraq:

What phased withdrawal would mean, according to Sen. Carl Levin, who after January will be the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is that the president would tell the Iraqi government that U.S. troops would start slowly redeploying out of Iraq, into an advisory role while they are in-country, and with a lot fewer of them there.

"Most Democrats share the view that we should pressure the White House to commence the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq in four to six months—to begin that phased redeployment, and thereby to make it clear to the Iraqis that our presence is not open-ended and that they must take and make the necessary political compromises to preserve Iraq as a nation," Levin said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves.

"They, and they alone, are going to decide whether they're going to have a nation or whether they're going to have an all-out civil war," he said. "We have given them the opportunity, at huge cost of blood and treasure, to have a nation, should they choose it. But it is up to them, not us, not our brave and valiant troops—it's up to the Iraqi leadership: Do they want a civil war or do they want a nation?"

Levin says he's got somewhere over 40 votes in the Senate for this pretty vague ("a lot fewer" troops? what does that mean actually?), including some Republicans, but is short of a clear majority.  More here.