As expected, President Bush announced Thursday night that 5,700 US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by Christmas time, following the advice of his military commanders.
President Bush appealed to the nation in a prime time address on Iraq Thursday night -- his latest effort to buy time for his Iraq War strategy and shore up support among Republicans who have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of political progress and stability in Iraq.
The president framed the Iraq conflict as he has in the past, as a key component of a broader war against al Qaeda and Islamic extremists.
So basically Bush's eighth address to the nation on the Iraq war was nearly 17 minutes of recycled rhetoric...
These are superficial changes to appease the increasingly discontent public of America and Iraq. Bush wants to show that he's in charge and he is listening to military advisors as well as popular opinion. This partial-withdrawal plan is, however, deceptive.
Bush's plan is to withdraw five brigades by mid-July -- approximately 23,000 troops, leaving about 137,000 U.S. troops in place by next summer.
While Bush portrayed the redeployment as a troop withdrawal, there will actually be 7,000 more troops in Iraq next summer than there were before Bush deployed additional forces to Iraq in January as part of a troop surge plan to quell sectarian violence.
With spin mode activated, Bush said that as more 'progress' is made, more troops can leave Iraq. This is a way for him to stick to his existing, if questionable, line that progress is being made and also looking like he is bowing to the wishes to experts and the general public alike. He is trying to court the more — for lack of a better word — moderate (naive), on-the-fence anti-war forces in the US with a move like this. Perhaps he can even get the moderate forces that aren't totally against the war to be angry at the stronger anti-war forces' demands for more withdrawal. Some appeasers will argue that Bush has pledged some measure of troop pullout, and we should take what we get. It depends, in part, on how his own Republican Party reacts to this news: will they paint it as a real step forward, or not a step at all?
We will have to see if this "return on success" plan is actually successful, at home and in Iraq. If all goes wrong, we do know who the administration will blame for future failure in Iraq: the 'defeatists' at home, the al-Qaeda terrorists (which actually comprise a very small amount of the extremists in Iraq), and Iran, the king of diabolical meddlers.