Rumsfeld: US troop withdrawal starting Spring 2006... if...
Dang it, somebody's got to do something about these lousy poll numbers! 51% of Americans think the administration deliberately misled America over Iraq's WMDs. 53% said we can't or won't win the war in Iraq. Sure, 53% said that going to Iraq was not a mistake, but who wants to say that 1,785 servicemen died for a mistake? Even so, 58% thought that we couldn't succeed in setting up a stable democracy in Iraq.
After all, Bush may be a lame duck, but the GOP needs to do well in these upcoming 2006 mid-term congressional elections. Will Republicans seeking to keep/acquire House and Senate seats be dragged down by these numbers that say 57% disapprove of the way Bush is handling the war, less than 50% think it was the right decision to go to war, 64% think Bush has no clear plan for a successful conclusion in Iraq, 54% say Iraq has either hurt or had no effect on the
50% of the people think the bigger problem is our troops staying too long, not that they'll leave too soon before stabilizing Iraq. 49% think that we should set a timetable for withdrawal. And people are even starting to think that their neighbors think the same thing; 44% said they thought most people oppose our current Iraq policy.
What to do, what to do... let's see, they're not falling for the Crayola Alert trick anymore...
(AP) Gen. George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, told U.S. reporters traveling with Rumsfeld that he believed a U.S. troop withdrawal could begin by spring 2006 if progress continues on the political front and if the insurgency does not expand.It sounds like a mighty big if, but I actually think there's a good chance we will be withdrawing some troops by campaign time. After all, the Cheney maladministration has shown time and again that political loyalty and maintaining power are more important than protecting America and supporting her troops.
However, Rumsfeld, when asked how soon a U.S. withdrawal should happen, said no exact timetable had been set. "But we confirm and we desire speed in that regard," he said, speaking through a translator. "And this fast pace has two aspects."
First, there must be a quickening of the pace of U.S. training of Iraqi security forces, and second there must be closely coordinated planning between the U.S.-led military coalition and the emerging Iraq government on a security transition, al-Jaafari said.
Forecasts by both al-Jaafari and Casey, however, were conditional on curbing the insurgency, which U.S. military officials have said is showing no signs of abating.
The U.S. military has in the past signaled a readiness to draw down troop strength, only to change plans in the face of relentless insurgent attacks.
Another problem has been infiltration of the security forces by insurgents. In its report to Congress last week, the Pentagon acknowledged that this remains a problem and it still is unable to say just how much infiltration there is, despite efforts to improve vetting of recruits.