WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is considering the withdrawal of additional combat forces from Iraq beginning in September, according to administration and military officials, raising the prospect of a far more ambitious plan than expected only months ago.Is it really striking that the Republicans would, in an election year, reduce the number of troops in Iraq, increasing the number in Afghanistan? It makes absolute sense for the Republicans to take a bite of out Obama's plan, to blunt his speech on the war. Count me as one of the people who didn't for one second think it was coincidence that the Iraqi Government is suddenly demanding some kind of loose time line, it'll give the Republicans political cover to backtrack on years of (failed) policy, just in time for the election. It was well worth the week or so of political heat they took, as they'll suddenly be able to talk what nearly every American wants to hear: a date of withdrawal, or at least that we should create one.
Such a withdrawal would be a striking reversal from the nadir of the war in 2006 and 2007.
Don't believe it for a second. After all, no one wanted to leave Iraq more than Joe Lieberman, right? The Republicans will increasing talk some troop withdrawals and even time lines for the rest of the campaign, but it won't amount to much after the election, as they do everything they can to obstruct our soldiers' extrication from Iraq. We've seen this play book all before; it's important that the American people don't fall for it again.