Saturday, May 26, 2007

We have turned the corner on Iraq

I suspect that we really are turning the corner on Iraq. Not so much in Iraq, but expectations are beginning to build for at least a moderate withdrawal sometime in 2008.

The article in The New York Times by David Sanger and David Cloud entitled "White House Is Said to Debate '08 Cut in Iraq Troops by 50%" tells us how even the White House is beginning to come to grips with the political reality of needing to be seen as "winding down Iraq" by the time Republican politicians have to face the people in the 2008 elections.

Although Iraq continues to be somewhat chaotic and remains likely to be so for quite some time, there is almost literally nothing U.S. armed forces can do to help Iraq evolve towards a more stable "civil society" and nation other than simply getting out of their way as soon as possible.

Although there is no shortage of tough-talking pro-Iraq politicians who have their diehard constituencies, the simple reality is that most Republicans need some dramatic relief on the Iraq "front" if they wish to win their elections in 2008.

It is almost a foregone conclusion that the Democrats will re-capture the presidency in 2008, but the Republicans have probably not given up hope and will be pinning all of their hopes on progress with exiting Iraq by the middle of 2008.

I'm sure any number of senior Republican politicians, conservative political power brokers, and political strategists are delivering this single message to the White House: "A serious wind-down of U.S. presence in Iraq must be underway by mid-2008 if the Republicans are to have any chance of seeing the 2008 elections as anything other than as the biggest rout of conservatives and Republicans, ever."

Anti-war Democrats will continue to fret and fume over how the party has abandoned them by allowing the vote for war funding, but the simple fact is that six months from now the question will be not if U.S. troops will be coming home from Iraq, but how soon.

The corner has been turned in the political process. We're about to head into the summer doldrums for Washington and the next stop is September, when it will be crystal clear whether the surge accomplished much at all, and the next step will be to debate how to begin pulling out troops, regardless of what the surge may or may not have accomplished.

-- Jack Krupansky


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