I think the Dems need to claim collective ownership of a serious withdrawal plan ASAP. By this I mean a general working plan, whether John Murtha’s “beyond the horizon” redeployment or something else, upon which more specific nuts-and-bolts withdrawal procedures can be built. Such a plan should be a well-publicized feature of Brand Democrat going into 2006. And Democrats need to claim ownership of this plan now, before Republicans beat them to it.Bush has a history of turning on a dime and assimilating former opposing positions as his own. For example, he fought the creation of the Department of Homeland Security tooth and nail, until one day in (I think ) June 2002 he declared he was for it. From that moment forward he spoke of it as if it had been his policy all along. And by adding a “poison pill” anti-Union provision, he took the issue away from the Democrats, who were for the DHS all those months that Bush was against it.
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Some time soon — maybe after the December elections — Bush could announce that the “mission” is sufficiently accomplished to begin withdrawal from Iraq. And then Karl Rove and the noise machine will turn the centrist Democrats’ “cautious half-steps” into talking points arguing the Dems are against withdrawal. That sounds may farfetched, I know, but I think it is entirely in line with Bush’s past behavior.
Whether Bush likes it or not, whether he realizes it now or not, U.S. troops cannot stay in Iraq in perpetuity. One way or another we’re going to leave before Bush’s second term has expired.
Read it all here.