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June 26, 2006

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On ABC News tonight, George Stephanopoulos said progress is being made in Iraq. Someone may have phoned him from the Green Zone, or the White House, with the happy news. What a twit he is.

Only a fool grabs a tiger by the tail. The only strategy left is to keep a grip, but at least the fool didn't think of that before
he began his errant errand.

I'm uncomfortable hearing Bush must keep a grip on this tiger.
I'm uncomfortable thinking Dems should stay the course until elections while Repubs stay the course in Iraq.
The polls I read prior to the 2004 election said the Iraq muddle would put Dems into office... and the Repubs thwarted that prediction.

I'm thinking the Dems must not continue the old routine thinking the outcome will be different next time... isn't that the definition of... insanity?

njr, I don't understand. Where are Dems staying the course? The majority voted for change.

This administration has no intention of leaving Iraq. For them it's about a permanent presence. Bush has already stated that the decisions will be for the next President. By the time the next President comes the inertia for change to leave will be very difficult and complex.

They will have a token withdrawal timed for the Nov elections and all the corresponding fanfare of victory and attacks on the Dems for their surrender to terrorists.

As the Times noted yesterday regarding al-Maliki's reconciliation proposal:

The text was, however, a watered down version of the document shown to The Times on Thursday. Iraq's presidency council and representatives from the Shia ruling coalition cut the document from 28 to 24 articles on Saturday night, said Faisal Abdullah, a spokesman for Khalid al-Attiyah, the Shia deputy speaker.

Noticeably missing from the final draft was a call for the Government to recognise the difference between resistance and terrorist groups and a written invitation for resistance groups to join a national dialogue.

The new wording reads only: "To adopt a credible national dialogue in dealing with all the different views and political positions that are opposing the views and positions of the Government and the political powers ..."

The published plan also removed a demand for the Government to agree upon a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces based on the readiness of Iraqi troops.

It dropped a pledge to revisit the constitution and cut a clause on reinstating employees who had jobs in ministries that had been dissolved under the US-occupation.

As I noted yesterday:

Without a timetable, the reconciliation plan's resemblance to the Kerry-Feingold-Boxer-Leahy Amendment is a bit off-kilter. And exactly what is a reconciliation plan without reconciliation?

The final form of the al-Maliki proposal as approved by the Iraqi parliament is just a sugar-coated placebo, all flavor and no medicine. Whether General Casey's desire to withdraw some troops is just an election-year ploy or the real mccoy is hard to evaluate given the secrecy in which his briefings were held. I'm lean toward the former.

Anyone besides ne think that the reason for Bush's surprise visit to Iraq last week was intended to ask Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to request that the U.S, start to pulll troops out of Iraq?

Hmmm -- what none of this deals with is the situation on the ground. Wake up, Washington -- you are not in control in Bagdhad, though you have a lot of hostages there.

I'm just back from the region -- smart people in Amman like Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group think there is a 50-50 chance the whole thing blows sky high and destablizes the whole region (when you create intramural carnage, you make refugees -- duhh.) More here.

Neither GWB and the GOP imperialists, nor our timid Dems, control what happens in Iraq. Now there is an unthinkable notion for Americans.

One quibble -- I would say the Republicans have bet the farm they can make voters think Iraq is better by then, rather than that it actually will be; they're all about perception and PR, not reality. I still agree it's unlikely, but it's a little less unlikely than the real thing.

How unlikely?

A majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Half of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out within 12 months.

The poll finds support for the ideas behind Democratic proposals that were soundly defeated in the Senate last week. An uptick in optimism toward the war after the killing of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this month seems to have evaporated.

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