In a remarkable editorial on July 8, the New York Times called on Bush to wind down the war and get out of Iraq ASAP. The Times is the most influential paper in the country (although the Wall Street Journal is the most influential among the corporate elite that rules the country).
The editorial says that “keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse,” which has been the argument of the anti-war movement since the beginning of the occupation in 2003. The editorial goes further, saying that opposing withdrawal because it will lead to a civil war is silly because Iraq is already knee-deep in a civil war that the U.S. can’t stop.
Now of course, the Times hasn’t joined the anti-war movement or lined up with the likes of Cindy Sheehan. It suggests that Bush keep permanent bases in the not-so-anti-US Kurdish north and that U.S. forces pull back to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia so that they can still bomb the hell out of “Al-Qaeda” in Iraq. Essentially, the Times is calling for a phased re-deployment of troops which won’t end the war in Iraq.
It’s very important to remember that as Nixon withdrew troops from Vietnam, he attacked Laos and Cambodia and dramatically upped the bombing of Vietnam to show the world that America was not a “pitiful, helpless giant” as it abandoned its ally, South Vietnam, to defeat at the hands godless Communist hordes.
Since the Times editorial was published, important Republicans in Congress have begun to jump ship (guess they got tired of trying to sit on the deckchairs as the Titanic slides sideways into the ocean), causing the White House to shit themselves. Poor SecDef Robert Gates had to cancel his tour of rebellion-ridden Latin America and Condy crony Stephen Hadley had to cut short his vacation to meet with bossman Rove and devise (drum roll please) brand-spanking new talking points! We now know that the President wants to bring the troops home too, he doesn’t want all of them to die horrible deaths in Iraq. I’m glad we cleared that up.
It’s unlikely that Bush is going to change course and embrace withdrawal to placate a few GOP traitors who turned out to be terrorist-loving Al-Qaedacrats, but the fact of the matter is that the surge is not sustainable from a military/logistical point of view after spring/summer of 2008. Congress has already shown they don’t really want to cut off funding for the war and thus are powerless to change the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.
What scares me is that a withdrawal/redeployment in Iraq in 2008, like Nixon’s withdrawal in Vietnam, might be coupled with an intensification of the air war in Iraq and an attack on Iran. Bush has until January 20, 2009 to do yet another “Mission Accomplished” speech and frankly, he’s got nothing left to lose.