|Want more proof that Barack Obama is already the president of the United States? The guy warming his chair just implemented yet another Obama foreign policy plank: a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as security conditions in the war-ravaged nation continue to improve, White House officials said here Friday.
The agreement, reached during a video conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks a dramatic shift for the Bush administration, which for years has condemned any talk of timetables for withdrawal.
But Maliki and other Iraqi leaders in recent weeks have begun demanding firm withdrawal deadlines from the United States. Bush said earlier this week that he opposes "arbitrary" timetables but was open to setting an "aspirational goal" for moving U.S. troops to a support role.
Aspirational my foot. That's a timetable! Cue the dissembling White House statement:
"In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals," the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and "the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq."
The statement continued: "The president and prime minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal."
Blah blah blah blah TIMETABLE!
Uh huh ... Just like how I've set a non-arbitrary, aspirational goal of leaving my house in 15 minutes to take my kids to a 3:30 movie, and will move depending on conditions on the ground, such as what time "Kung Fu Panda" starts, and how long it takes to get to Muvico by .... 3:30.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel denied that the agreement with Maliki represents a concession by the Bush administration.
"I think it's important to remember that the discussions about timeline issues previously were from Democrats in Congress who wanted to arbitrarily retreat from Iraq -- without consideration for conditions on the ground," Stanzel told reporters in Tucson.
"These are aspirational goals, not arbitrary timetables based on political expediency," Stanzel said.
I literally cannot wait to hear the McCain response to this one. My god, what next? A Bush book on the audacity of hope? (It would, of course, have to be a children's book...) Perhaps we could call it, "The Audacity of Aspirational Goals"...
You GO George. Way to warm up that seat.
Labels: Bush administration, Iraq war, timetable for withdrawal