There was an interesting theme running through the Webernets yesterday regarding the Iraq war, the surge, and the inevitable aftermath of our future withdrawl. First, Juan Cole suggests that Democrats are going to be dragged through the mud when, after Bush leaves office, the U.S. begins to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. Josh Marshall has more:
Given the stabilization of Republican support for the war, there’s not a lot Democrats can do to force the president to end the war during his term. Even if you assume heroic budgetary battles, there’s just not enough time left. Even the most aggressive timetables for withdrawal would take upwards of a year to execute. And Bush is down to 18 months.
Add to that the fact that Cole believes that all hell really will break loose once US troops leave — a not improbable assumption. And you come up with the conclusion that a Democratic president comes into office in early 2009 just in time to oversee Iraq’s descent into anarchy.
Along the same lines, Garance Franke-Ruta writes about Bush’s planned announcement to bring 30,000 troops home next summer:
Should things go according to plan, by next summer, Bush will be in a position to claim credit for a drawdown. Will Americans breathe sighs of relief and thankfulness for this, even though they will be right back where they were in early 2007? The tale of the rabbi suggests the answer will be yes.
Kevin Drum is all over this one, however:
Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that we’re not withdrawing these troops next year because we’ve achieved some grand success on the ground in Iraq. We haven’t, and Bush knows it. We’re withdrawing them because the Army has no operational choice.
The big question, of course, is whether the American people will buy it. Do you?