Monday, May 22, 2006

Blair and Bush speed up troop withdrawal schedule

I dunno... I'm sure they've got good intel and the word of officers on the ground in Iraq to support a sped up schedule of withdrawal of troops, but it smells of political posturing... bringing troops home 4 months before an election.

Guardian - George Bush and Tony Blair are to discuss in Washington this week a programme of troop withdrawals from Iraq that will be much faster and more ambitious than originally planned.

In a phased pullout in which the two countries will act in tandem, Britain is to begin with a handover to Iraqi security forces in Muthanna province in July and the Americans will follow suit in Najaf, the Shia holy city.

Other withdrawals will quickly follow over the remainder of the year. Officials in both administrations hope that Britain's 8,000 forces in Iraq can be down to 5,000 by the end of the year and that the American forces will be reduced from 133,000 to about 100,000.

And if I think that sounds like vote pandering, you know the Democrats will hammer him for it. He better have talking points ready and generals by his side ready to back him up saying things are good on the ground, Iraqi security forces are ready, and they've been doing most of the heavy lifting in the area for "X" amount of time. Hopefully having a former member of the press in Tony Snow heading up press relations will help lead to a better prepared Dubya. He needs to have the full arsenal ready the first time. If he does what he has been doing, drawing the discussion out over weeks and months, letting the pundits get a hold of it and chew on it for weeks, he's going to get hammered in the polls. Again.

[ed. small syntax error corrected in my commentary above]