Foreign Policy

But Will the Timetable Be Done by the Time of the GOP Convention?

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AP report on U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, where Secretary of State Rice is jawing up a storm with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari about gittin' the hell out:

A key part of the U.S.-Iraqi draft agreement envisions the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq's cities by next June 30.

Said Zebari: "This agreement determines the principle provisions, requirements, to regulate the temporary presence and the time horizon, the mission of the U.S. forces."…

In addition to spelling out that U.S. troops would move out of Iraqi cities by next summer, the Iraqi government has pushed for a specific date—most likely the end of 2011—by which all U.S. forces would depart the country. In the meantime, the U.S. troops would be positioned on bases in other parts of the country to make them less visible while still being able to assist Iraqi forces as needed.

There are now about 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

More here.

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  1. I’m looking for civil war to erupt in Iraq between mid Oct. and the first of the year.

  2. I don’t see the neoconservatives – for whom replacing bases in Saudi Arabia with bases in Iraq – accepting the second part of that agreement, despite their alleged respect for Iraqi democracy.

    Looks like push is going to come to shove on the question of whether we intend to be in Iraq for a hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years, during the term of the next president.

  3. In the meantime, the U.S. troops would be positioned on bases in other parts of the country to make them less visible while still being able to assist Iraqi forces as needed.

    And once Iraq is stable and conditions start to improve, we close the bases and pull out entirely, I’m sure.

  4. Er, make that “- for whom replacing bases in Saudi Arabia with bases in Iraq has been a central purpose of the war from the beginning

  5. Great – vindication for Obama and Ron Paul, but I don’t trust the Bushpigs for a second. Will the Blackwater mercenaries still have immunity? Is the drawdown confined to the cities? Will President McCain honor this agreement given his love of military occupations?

  6. They will wait till 2011. They learned the hard way that US forces will prevent or at least interfere with their civil war dreams.

  7. Permanent bases will be negotiated by 2011 with McCain as president.

    The pullout will be accelerated with Obama.

    At least that will be the choice you are offered on paper.

  8. Sheesh, every silver lining has a cloud with this crowd.

  9. At least that will be the choice you are offered on paper.

    In reality, I’m thinking the scissors of hegemony will beat your paper.

  10. I think I-rock is going to determine the outcome here, Happy Jack.

  11. May I see the hands of those who think we won’t have some number of troops in Iraq forever? That’s what I thought.

  12. joe,

    Nice try, but “a rock” is phonetically closer than “I-rock” for most American speakers.

    So, your post should have been a simple:

    A rock is going to determine the outcome.

    [/punishing critique]

  13. “May I see the hands of those who think we won’t have some number of troops in Iraq forever? That’s what I thought.”

    We will have some, but not very many. We will always have basis and the ability to come back in a hurry but not a lot of people on the ground. The war is over. Rather than worry about Iraq, people need to worry about how we are going to get out of Afghanistan. Afghanistan will never come together and the Taliban can always run back to NW Pakistan. But, invading Pakistan is not really an option.

  14. We have little military exchanges with all sorts of countries, and delegations that interact with their governments and militaries. Absent an actively anti-American government coming to power in Iraq, I imagine we’ll have them with Iraq as well.

    Now, whether there is more than that, such as a permanent occupation or ongoing reinvasions, is going to depend a lot on who wins the next few presidential elections.

  15. But Will the Timeline Be Done by the GOP Convention?

    OK, what if the Chairman of the RNC said, “We can’t set a timeline for when we’re going to finish timeline. It would just allow the Democrats to foresee our actions and plan accordingly,” and so the Republican candidates for office and campaigns and fundraisers didn’t know either? And didn’t even know whether the GOP would be supporting timelines, or not, in time for the elections?

    You think that might put those candidates in a bad spot? One where they don’t know how to run a campaign and can’t plan for the future?

    I think it would put them in an even worse spot, politically, than the Democrats. The Democrats could, at any time, pivot from “We support timelines and they don’t” to “We support timelines and they admitted we were right,” as events required. But for a a Republican, running against timelines and then seeing the administration and RNC come out in favor of them would be devestating.

    Hmm, I wonder if there’s a lesson in here somewhere?

  16. “””Now, whether there is more than that, such as a permanent occupation or ongoing reinvasions, is going to depend a lot on who wins the next few presidential elections.””

    I don’t think so. Iraq will make that determination. That’s a mixed bag. The end result may be an Iraqi government too cozy with Iran.

    I do think the dynamics in Iraq may favor Obama and make Mccain look like he can’t recognize a victory when we have one.

    I still stick to my prediction I made last year when I said Bush will try to do everyting in his power to say he won the war on his watch. An agreement for the troops to leave will give him the ability to say he won and the new President will finish the loose ends.

  17. “I still stick to my prediction I made last year when I said Bush will try to do everything in his power to say he won the war on his watch. An agreement for the troops to leave will give him the ability to say he won and the new President will finish the loose ends.”

    Kind of a legacy thing? Will there be an inter-Republican conflict if McCain goes on and says we won it because of the surge I forced on you?

    “I’m looking for civil war to erupt in Iraq between mid Oct. and the first of the year.”

    It’s possible. One of the miracles of the surge is that Sunni’s and Shiite’s now like each other, and want to live side by side in peace and harmony. Is the US in the role of the parent who can’t leave the room, because a fight breaks out everytime?

  18. I stand corrected. You are right, Tricky Vic, it is Iraq that will make that decision, ultimately.

    Who wins the next few presidential elections will determine how painful that process is for us.

  19. The U.S. has built several HUGE bases in Iraq. Whether it’s McCain or Obama sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, we will have tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future. I hope I’m wrong, but look at the last 100 years: whether it’s a democrat or a republican in the Whitehouse, the general trend favors more bombs and more intervention.

  20. Libertarian,

    What? Just cuz we built em doesn’t mean we have to follow thru and man em. What’s the irresistible impetus for that? It’ll just be bitchen more expensive, and more folks will die and be crippled sans good cause.

    I tend to trust Obama to bring our troops home from Iraq. (The congress could do it too by simply not voting the funds to keep em there-no need to worry about a veto, just like they coulda stopped the war a long time ago but the Democrats and a huge swath of the Left, Move On, etc, decided that they would rather elect more Dems by keeping the issue alive rather than ending the war.

    I also trust Obama, if he comes in with these huge Dem majorities in congress, to undertake devastating attack on economic liberty and thus prosperity.

  21. …Shoulda been: “…to undertake a devastating attack on economic liberty and thus prosperity.”

  22. “””I tend to trust Obama to bring our troops home from Iraq. “””

    I trust in Iraq to send them packing at some point, probably by 2011. No counrty really wants foreign military operations on their soil.

    “””Who wins the next few presidential elections will determine how painful that process is for us.”””

    Yeah, and the Iraqi people will determine Bush’s legacy on Iraq by how they behave after the withdraw. If they behave, almost all issues will be water under the bridge and history will judge Bush in good light. If they decide to engage in fighting, history will not be nice.

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