NO Timetables…OK, Timetables

November 29, 2008

The gist of the agreements with Iraq, the good and the bad:

There’s a deadline for troop withdrawal (so much for the “no timetables” mantra from the Republicans and the Bush administration), but we’ve got a whole lot of war to go:

“The agreements — a broad ‘strategic framework’ and a more detailed security pact that were ratified Thursday by the Iraqi Parliament — set a deadline that critics of the war have long wanted. They require that all American forces withdraw from Iraq no later than Dec. 31, 2011, but they offer no timetable for withdrawals, and in theory could add three more years to a war that has already lasted five and a half.”

And a lot of uncertainty about what the agreement actually calls for in the meantime:

“The United States has also agreed to remove all combat forces from Iraqi cities and villages by the end of next June, though the agreements remain silent on what constitutes ‘combat’ troops and where exactly they will move. Those decisions have been left to a Joint Military Operations Coordination Committee, a body of Americans and Iraqis that could prove to be as ungainly as its acronym, Jmocc.”

And their will be at least SOME Iraqi oversight:

“The committee will have the authority to approve American military operations; the use of bases and facilities; the detention of Iraqis by American forces; and even — in rare cases, it would seem — the prosecution of American troops accused of ‘grave premeditated felonies’ committed while off duty and off base. Any number of circumstances could strain cooperation and even lead to conflict.”

OF COURSE, all this is possible because THE SURGE WORKED (ugh.). Mission Accomplished, Part Deux:

“‘Given where we were in January 2007, we have seen an almost unthinkable pace of progress on political, economic and security issues,’ Mr. Bush’s spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, said in a statement, describing the agreements as evidence of the success of the president’s strategy. ‘So much so that the improved conditions allowed us to come to this mutual agreement with a sovereign Iraq that is solving its problems in the political process, not with guns and bombs.'”

And yet, in the end, there’s still no end of an American troop presence in Iraq in sight:

“Still unclear is how many American forces are expected to remain between now and the deadline for withdrawal, and whether any could stay beyond then.”

Obama’s inheriting a real mess. ANOTHER real mess, that is, in addition to the other 5,000 messes the Bushies are leaving behind. And violence could rapidly escalate in the country when US troops are pulled back from urban areas.

52 more days.

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