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Thread: Whats Wrong with Cutting and Running

  1. #1

    Whats Wrong with Cutting and Running

    [B]Here is a great article that hits many of the issues of Iraq dead on. Its written by Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), ia Senior Fellow with the [U]Right Wing [/U] Think Tank the Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer under Republican President Ronald Reagan.[/B]


    [B]What’s wrong with cutting and running?
    By William E. Odom[/B]


    If I were a journalist, I would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the horrible things that people say would happen, and then ask: Aren’t they happening already? Would a pullout really make things worse? Maybe it would make things better.

    Here are some of the arguments against pulling out:


    1) We would leave behind a civil war.
    2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.
    3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.
    4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.
    5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.
    6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors.
    7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.
    8) We haven’t fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.
    9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.

    But consider this:

    [B]1) On civil war. [/B]
    Iraqis are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war. We created the civil war when we invaded; we can’t prevent a civil war by staying.

    For those who really worry about destabilizing the region, the sensible policy is not to stay the course in Iraq. It is rapid withdrawal, re-establishing strong relations with our allies in Europe, showing confidence in the UN Security Council, and trying to knit together a large coalition including the major states of Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, and India to back a strategy for stabilizing the area from the eastern Mediterranean to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until the United States withdraws from Iraq and admits its strategic error, no such coalition can be formed.

    Thus those who fear leaving a mess are actually helping make things worse while preventing a new strategic approach with some promise of success.

    [B]2) On credibility.[/B]
    If we were Russia or some other insecure nation, we might have to worry about credibility. A hyperpower need not worry about credibility. That’s one of the great advantages of being a hyperpower: When we have made a big strategic mistake, we can reverse it. And it may even enhance our credibility. Staying there damages our credibility more than leaving.

    Ask the president if he really worries about US credibility. Or, what will happen to our credibility if the course he is pursuing proves to be a major strategic disaster? Would it not be better for our long-term credibility to withdraw earlier than later in this event?

    [B]3) On the insurgency and democracy. [/B]
    There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. But that will happen no matter how long we stay. Any government capable of holding power in Iraq will be anti-American, because the Iraqi people are increasingly becoming anti-American.

    Also, the U.S. will not leave behind a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq no matter how long it stays. Holding elections is easy. It is impossible to make it a constitutional democracy in a hurry.

    President Bush’s statements about progress in Iraq are increasingly resembling LBJ's statements during the Vietnam War. For instance, Johnson’s comments about the 1968 election are very similar to what Bush said in February 2005 after the election of a provisional parliament.

    Ask the president: Why should we expect a different outcome in Iraq than in Vietnam?

    Ask the president if he intends to leave a pro-American liberal regime in place. Because that’s just impossible. Postwar Germany and Japan are not models for Iraq. Each had mature (at least a full generation old) constitutional orders by the end of the 19th century. They both endured as constitutional orders until the 1930s. Thus General Clay and General MacArthur were merely reversing a decade and a half totalitarianism -- returning to nearly a century of liberal political change in Japan and a much longer period in Germany.

    Imposing a liberal constitutional order in Iraq would be to accomplish something that has never been done before. Of all the world's political cultures, an Arab-Muslim one may be the most resistant to such a change of any in the world. Even the Muslim society in Turkey (an anti-Arab society) stands out for being the only example of a constitutional order in an Islamic society, and even it backslides occasionally.

    [B]4) On terrorists.[/B]
    Iraq is already a training ground for terrorists. In fact, the CIA has pointed out to the administration and congress that Iraq is spawning so many terrorists that they are returning home to many other countries to further practice their skills there. The quicker a new dictator wins the political power in Iraq and imposes order, the sooner the country will stop producing well-experienced terrorists.

    Why not ask: "Mr. President, since you and the vice president insisted that Saddam's Iraq supported al Qaeda -- which we now know it did not -- isn't your policy in Iraq today strengthening al Qaeda's position in that country?"

    [B]5) On Iranian influence.[/B]
    Iranian leaders see US policy in Iraq as being so much in Teheran's interests that they have been advising Iraqi Shiite leaders to do exactly what the Americans ask them to do. Elections will allow the Shiites to take power legally. Once in charge, they can settle scores with the Baathists and Sunnis. If US policy in Iraq begins to undercut Iran's interests, then Teheran can use its growing influence among Iraqi Shiites to stir up trouble, possibly committing Shiite militias to an insurgency against US forces there. The US invasion has vastly increased Iran's influence in Iraq, not sealed it out.

    Questions for the administration: "Why do the Iranians support our presence in Iraq today? Why do they tell the Shiite leaders to avoid a sectarian clash between Sunnis and Shiites? Given all the money and weapons they provide Shiite groups, why are they not stirring up more trouble for the US? Will Iranian policy change once a Shiite majority has the reins of government? Would it not be better to pull out now rather than to continue our present course of weakening the Sunnis and Baathists, opening the way for a Shiite dictatorship?"

    [B]6) On Iraq’s neighbors.[/B]
    The civil war we leave behind may well draw in Syria, Turkey and Iran. But already today each of those states is deeply involved in support for or opposition to factions in the ongoing Iraqi civil war. The very act of invading Iraq almost insured that violence would involve the larger region. And so it has and will continue, with, or without, US forces in Iraq.

    [B]7) On Shiite-Sunni conflict.[/B]
    The US presence is not preventing Shiite-Sunni conflict; it merely delays it. Iran is preventing it today, and it will probably encourage it once the Shiites dominate the new government, an outcome US policy virtually ensures.

    [B]8) On training the Iraq military and police.[/B]
    The insurgents are fighting very effectively without US or European military advisors to train them. Why don't the soldiers and police in the present Iraqi regime's service do their duty as well? Because they are uncertain about committing their lives to this regime. They are being asked to take a political stand, just as the insurgents are. Political consolidation, not military-technical consolidation, is the issue.

    The issue is not military training; it is institutional loyalty. We trained the Vietnamese military effectively. Its generals took power and proved to be lousy politicians and poor fighters in the final showdown. In many battles over a decade or more, South Vietnamese military units fought very well, defeating VC and NVA units. But South Vietnam's political leaders lost the war.

    Even if we were able to successfully train an Iraqi military and police force, the likely result, after all that, would be another military dictatorship. Experience around the world teaches us that military dictatorships arise when the military’s institutional modernization gets ahead of political consolidation.

    [B]9) On not supporting our troops by debating an early pullout.[/B]
    Many US officers in Iraq, especially at company and field grade levels, know that while they are winning every tactical battle, they are losing strategically. And according to the New York Times last week, they are beginning to voice complaints about Americans at home bearing none of the pains of the war. One can only guess about the enlisted ranks, but those on a second tour – probably the majority today – are probably anxious for an early pullout. It is also noteworthy that US generals in Iraq are not bubbling over with optimistic reports they way they were during the first few years of the war in Vietnam. Their careful statements and caution probably reflect serious doubts that they do not, and should not, express publicly. The more important question is whether or not the repressive and vindictive behavior by the secretary of defense and his deputy against the senior military -- especially the Army leadership, which is the critical component in the war -- has made it impossible for field commanders to make the political leaders see the facts.

    [B]Most surprising to me is that no American political leader today has tried to unmask the absurdity of the administration's case that to question the strategic wisdom of the war is unpatriotic and a failure to support our troops. Most officers and probably most troops don't see it that way. They are angry at the deficiencies in materiel support they get from the Department of Defense, and especially about the irresponsibly long deployments they must now endure because Mr. Rumsfeld and his staff have refused to enlarge the ground forces to provide shorter tours. In the meantime, they know that the defense budget shovels money out the door to maritime forces, SDI, etc., while refusing to increase dramatically the size of the Army.[/B]
    As I wrote several years ago, "the Pentagon's post-Cold War force structure is so maritime heavy and land force weak that it is firmly in charge of the porpoises and whales while leaving the land to tyrants." The Army, some of the Air Force, the National Guard, and the reserves are now the victims of this gross mismatch between military missions and force structure. Neither the Bush nor the Clinton administration has properly "supported the troops." The media could ask the president why he fails to support our troops by not firing his secretary of defense.

    ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
    So why is almost nobody advocating a pullout? I can only speculate. We face a strange situation today where few if any voices among Democrats in Congress will mention early withdrawal from Iraq, and even the one or two who do will not make a comprehensive case for withdrawal now.Why are the Democrats failing the public on this issue today? The biggest reason is because they weren’t willing to raise that issue during the campaign. Howard Dean alone took a clear and consistent stand on Iraq, and the rest of the Democratic party trashed him for it. Most of those in Congress voted for the war and let that vote shackle them later on. Now they are scared to death that the White House will smear them with lack of patriotism if they suggest pulling out.
    Journalists can ask all the questions they like but none will prompt a more serious debate as long as no political leaders create the context and force the issues into the open.

    I don't believe anyone will be able to sustain a strong case in the short run without going back to the fundamental misjudgment of invading Iraq in the first place. Once the enormity of that error is grasped, the case for pulling out becomes easy to see.

    Look at John Kerry's utterly absurd position during the presidential campaign. He said “It’s the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," but then went on to explain how he expected to win it anyway. Even the voter with no interest in foreign affairs was able to recognize it as an absurdity. If it was the wrong war at the wrong place and time, then it was never in our interest to fight. If that is true, what has changed to make it in our interest? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

    [B]The US invasion of Iraq only serves the interest of:[/B]

    [B]1) Osama bin Laden [/B] (it made Iraq safe for al Qaeda, positioned US military personnel in places where al Qaeda operatives can kill them occasionally, helps radicalize youth throughout the Arab and Muslim world, alienates America's most important and strongest allies – the Europeans – and squanders US military resources that otherwise might be finishing off al Qaeda in Pakistan.);

    [B]2) The Iranians [/B] (who were invaded by Saddam and who suffered massive casualties in an eight year war with Iraq.);

    [B] 3) And the extremists in both Palestinian and Israeli political circles[/B] (who don't really want a peace settlement without the utter destruction of the other side, and probably believe that bogging the United States down in a war in Iraq that will surely become a war between the United States and most of the rest of Arab world gives them the time and cover to wipe out the other side.)

    The wisest course for journalists might be to begin sustained investigations of why leading Democrats have failed so miserably to challenge the US occupation of Iraq. The first step, of course, is to establish as conventional wisdom the fact that the war was never in the US interest and has not become so. It is such an obvious case to make that I find it difficult to believe many pundits and political leaders have not already made it repeatedly.

  2. #2
    this is a great article and the author cannot be mistaken for some left wing cook. It all makes perfect sense from a military perspective. Saying "we must succeed in Iraq" and actually having it happen are two different things.

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=bitonti] be mistaken for some left wing cook. [/QUOTE]


    If I had to guess: Tyler Florence. Can't be Emeril... ;)

  4. #4
    [QUOTE][B]this is a great article and the author cannot be mistaken for some left wing cook. It all makes perfect sense from a military perspective. Saying "we must succeed in Iraq" and actually having it happen are two different things.[/B][/QUOTE]

    You are so right Bit. Catch phrases such as "we must keep our resolve", "stay the course" and we must "succeed in Iraq" not "cut and run" have no depth. On the surface they may seem valid but when closely examined as this article has done, they clearly are nothing but catchy slogans with nothing to support them.

    I am surprised that the usual warhawking Right Wingers on this forum (you know who you are ) have not chimed in with their 2 cents worth.

  5. #5
    I voted for Nader.

    Cut and run is not the answer. Not at all.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7]You are so right Bit. Catch phrases such as "we must keep our resolve", "stay the course" and we must "succeed in Iraq" not "cut and run" have no depth. On the surface they may seem valid but when closely examined as this article has done, they clearly are nothing but catchy slogans with nothing to support them.

    I am surprised that the usual warhawking Right Wingers on this forum (you know who you are ) have not chimed in with their 2 cents worth.[/QUOTE]

    *YAWN*

    Wesley Clark, Murtha, Odom - big deal. Dick Morris' column appears in the NYPost sometimes: doesnt make him a conservative, Repub, or anyone with special knowledge.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=quantum]*YAWN*[/QUOTE]

    That's what history is going to do when it looks back at the fruitless results of the Iraq war. YAWN.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]That's what history is going to do when it looks back at the fruitless results of the Iraq war. YAWN.[/QUOTE]

    I thought we were supposed to get lots of free oil? As far as I know, we haven't even gotten any dates! Dates are good.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE][B]Wesley Clark, Murtha, Odom - big deal.[/B][/QUOTE]

    Big Deal? Youve got to be kidding me.

    1. [B]Wesley Clark[/B]- graduated first in his class at West Point. A decorated Four Star General. A Vietnam Vet who was wounded four times received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star. After this, he graduated from the National War College and Command and General Staff College,as well as completing Armor Officer Advanced and Basic Courses and Army Ranger and Airborne schools. During the Persian Gulf War he was Commander of the Army National Training Center, in charge of arranging the 1st Cavalry Division's three emergency deployments to Kuwait. He worked with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as Director for Strategic Plans and Policy. He later served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO , and Commander-in-Chief for the United States European Command. In addition he has served as an instructor at both West Point and the National War College. His Military decorations include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters) , Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters) ,Silver Star Medal , Bronze Star Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster) , Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Meritorious Unit Citation , National Defense Service Medal (with service star) , Vietnam Service Medal (with 3 service stars), Presidential Medal of Freedom and more!

    2. [B]John Murtha[/B]- joined the Marines in the 1950s and served in Korea where he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal. He later served as a drill instructor at Parris Island before entering OCS. . He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for service in Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement as a Full Bird Colonel in 1990, receiving the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. He has seved in congress for over 30 years and chaired the House Appropriations committee. He has served as chairman of delegations monitoring elections in the Philippines, El Salvador, Panama and Bosnia. He has been awarded numerous Veteran Honors including American Legion National Distinguished Public Service Award, 2003; Man of the Year Award of the Catholic War Veterans of America in 2001 and 2003.

    3. [B]William Odom[/B]- a Lieutenant General.He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer under Reagan. He is a Distinguished Professor at Yale where he teaches U.S. National Security Policy. He is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

    Big Deal huh! Why listen to these guys when you have experts on the military and foreign policy/intelligence like Georgie boy and Cheney. Perhaps I should be listening to John Podhoretz and Stephen Hayes instead, being that they have [I]Real Life[/I] experiences at hand.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE][B]I thought we were supposed to get lots of free oil?[/B][/QUOTE]

    I thought the war was not going to cost us anything. Didnt the administration tell us that the profits from Iraqi Oil were going to pay the costs of the war? Where did that money go?

  11. #11
    [QUOTE][B]Dick Morris' column appears in the NYPost sometimes: doesnt make him a conservative, Repub,[/B][/QUOTE]

    No but working for senators Trent Lott and Jesse Helms, as well as former governors William Weld , Pete Wilson and Mike Huckabee and saying he decided to work only for Republicans in 1995, as well as the stance he takes in his article clearly makes him a Repub.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=kennyo7]You are so right Bit. Catch phrases such as "we must keep our resolve", "stay the course" and we must "succeed in Iraq" not "cut and run" have no depth. On the surface they may seem valid but when closely examined as this article has done, they clearly are nothing but catchy slogans with nothing to support them.

    I am surprised that the usual warhawking Right Wingers on this forum (you know who you are ) have not chimed in with their 2 cents worth.[/QUOTE]


    Thats because the few whackos left who support this craziness are glued to talk radio listening to their heros.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=quantum]*YAWN*

    Wesley Clark, Murtha, Odom - big deal. Dick Morris' column appears in the NYPost sometimes: doesnt make him a conservative, Repub, or anyone with special knowledge.[/QUOTE]

    I guess experience and education mean nothing to the current adminstration?

  14. #14
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    Didn't Bill Clinton fire Wes Clark because he was of "questionabnle character?"

    Kenny, this article says absolutely nothing new. If you think the War in Iraq was a bad idea, cutting and running is fine. If you think it was a good idea, cutting and running is bad. These "insights" have all been brought up ad nauseum by opponents of the war. It's the "the war has made things worse, we need to have Europe love us again!" argument. It's been debated a zillion times. You have your opinions, and I have mine. This is a non-story.

  15. #15
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    kenny - 1st, it would be much easier if you just made one post. 2nd, once you become a politician, declared or otherwise, everything you say becomes suspect; even for former military men. Everyone has agendas, and everyone likes to further their agendas. Sooo - would I want these men on the battlefield? Probably. Would I want them running the country? Not necessarily so. Their "education and experience" doesn't mean a perfect crossover to politics. Ever work for or with an ex-military guy in a job? Jeez- what a nightmare. They make very bad managers, and isn't that what politicians are?

    For the record - I don't watch too much TV news/talking heads shows, nor do I listen to talk radio.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE][B]Kenny, this article says absolutely nothing new. If you think the War in Iraq was a bad idea, cutting and running is fine. If you think it was a good idea, cutting and running is bad. These "insights" have all been brought up ad nauseum by opponents of the war. It's the "the war has made things worse, we need to have Europe love us again!" argument. It's been debated a zillion times. You have your opinions, and I have mine. This is a non-story.[/B][/QUOTE]


    J5E, first off this is an opinion piece not a story. It summarizes the reasons why we need to leave Iraq ASAP and addresses the talking points people continuously regurgitate w/o thinking as to why we can not leave Iraq. What is different is that this piece was not written by a member of the Left but rather by someone on the Right. Your response is very typical and sadly characteristic of your hypocrisy. While you are always there to praise some piece by a Right Winger like Podhoretz or the conspiracy theorist Stephen Hayes, all you can do with this is say its a 'non-story" . This is very much a story. Open your eyes and wipe the crud out. Your opinion represents the minority view. Almost 2/3 of Americans do not support this war and I dont see the pendulum swinging any time soon. Members of the Republican party and conservatives are jumping off the bandwagon. Right wing support for this war is starting to fall and even they are crying for an exit strategy and plan to bring back the troops. Even Iraqis today are calling for the US to get out. You are fighting a lost cause my friend.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE][B]Everyone has agendas, and everyone likes to further their agendas. Sooo - would I want these men on the battlefield? Probably. Would I want them running the country? Not necessarily so. Their "education and experience" doesn't mean a perfect crossover to politics.[/B] [/QUOTE]


    I agree , every one has agendas. While you say that you dont want military men running the country, I dont want the country run by oilmen and corporate businessman.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7]J5E, first off this is an opinion piece not a story. It summarizes the reasons why we need to leave Iraq ASAP and addresses the talking points people continuously regurgitate w/o thinking as to why we can not leave Iraq. What is different is that this piece was not written by a member of the Left but rather by someone on the Right. Your response is very typical and sadly characteristic of your hypocrisy. While you are always there to praise some piece by a Right Winger like Podhoretz or the conspiracy theorist Stephen Hayes, all you can do with this is say its a 'non-story" . This is very much a story. Open your eyes and wipe the crud out. Your opinion represents the minority view. Almost 2/3 of Americans do not support this war and I dont see the pendulum swinging any time soon. Members of the Republican party and conservatives are jumping off the bandwagon. Right wing support for this war is starting to fall and even they are crying for an exit strategy and plan to bring back the troops. Even Iraqis today are calling for the US to get out. You are fighting a lost cause my friend.[/QUOTE]

    A majority of Americans believe in Creationism, does that make it true?

    You have your opinions, I have mine. Many, many, many conservatives were against this war from the beginning. The conservative movement is full of more debate and diversity of opinion than the Left realizes. In fact, I would argue that the Left is less open to new ideads and differences of opinion.

    However, polls ebb and flow. Support for this war was once very high, and I never once pointed to that fact to say, "Look, I'm right because x% of Americans agree with me." It's telling that you would resort to this appeal. When people like Podhoertx or Hayes write eloquent pieces arguing an opposing view, you dismiss them out of hand, which is unfortunate.

    I've read pieces like this one a zillion times. I've heard the arguments, I simply disagree with them. You agree. It is what it is. You are simply more arrogant and close-minded than I am.

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7]I agree , every one has agendas. While you say that you dont want military men running the country, I dont want the country run by oilmen and corporate businessman.[/QUOTE]

    What's wrong with businessmen? My God, PLEASE tell me you aren't some dude who hates capitalism or thinks that profit is evil or that corporations are bad things. PLEASE tell me I haven't completelyt wasted my time with you. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me that.

  20. #20
    Heres a couple of more questions I have for the Rabid Right Wingers.

    Back in January 2005 in a NY Times article prior to the Iraqi election, [B]Pres Bush said he would withdraw American forces from Iraq if the new government that elected on Sunday asked him to do so, but that he expected Iraq’s first democratically elected leaders would want the troops to remain as helpers, not as occupiers.[/B]

    On June 2, 2005[B] Bush said “Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done”[/B]

    On 5/15/04 Secretary of State [U]Colin Powell [/U] emphatically said that[B] “if the incoming Iraqi interim government ordered the departure of foreign troops after June 30, we would pack up without protest”, [/B] but emphasized he doubted such a request would be made.

    [U]Paul Bremmer[/U] said[B] “If the provisional government asks us to leave, we will leave, I don’t think that will happen, but obviously we don’t stay in countries where we’re not welcome.”[/B]


    But Today:

    [B]Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a ``legitimate right'' of resistance[/B]

    [url]http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5431131,00.html[/url]

    My two questions are:

    1. Will Bush be a man of his word and start planning the withdrawl of troops now that the Iraqi govt wants us to start getting out?

    2. Less than 6 mos ago Bush said that setting a timetable for withdrawal would send the Iraqis the wrong message. What happened since June that make the Iraqis feel that setting a timetale would be the right message? Could it be the 2006 Elections?

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