Just in Time for The Democratic Convention
Secretary Rice Gives the Dems One Less Thing to Talk About
As was rumored to happen several weeks ago, it is now becoming a certainty that one of the biggest issues the Democrats were hoping to run on over the next 2 1/2 months is now a moot point.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced today that the United States and Iraq have now reached agreements on "time horizons" in which U.S. troops will begin staggered exits from Iraq. While the final deal is not totally complete, the withdrawal plan and strategic framework pact is close to final completion.
This from Fox News:
"We have agreed that some goals, some aspirational timetables for how that might unfold, are well worth having in such an agreement," Rice told reporters after meeting with Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"This agreement determines the principle provisions, requirements, to regulate the temporary presence and the time horizon, the mission of the U.S. forces," Zebari said.
A draft agreement announced Wednesday would have American troops leave Iraqi cities as early as June 30. Rice flew into Baghdad on an unannounced trip on Thursday to hammer out unresolved issues.
Zebari said the pact has to go before Iraq's Executive Council for Review, but, "really, we are very, very close to closing this agreement."
Besides spelling out that U.S. troops would move out of Iraqi cities by next summer, the Iraqi government has pushed for a specific date, most likely the end of 2011, by which all U.S. forces would leave the country. In the meantime, the U.S. troops would be positioned on bases in other parts of the country to make them less visible while positioned to help Iraqi forces as needed.
This news could not have come sooner, though ideally maybe it should have come a few days later. It would have been great fun to watch Obama in Denver have to quickly rework his acceptance speech, especially on the fly, if this news would have come out during the Democratic Convention's final evening. Talk about losing the wind in their sails!
I guess, however, that would have been politicizing the Iraqi strategy a bit much. And while tossing about that sort of rationale may be fine for the pundits, it's clear this administration would never behave in that manner. But, alas, I am not a part of the administration, am I?
This news is very good politically for the GOP on several fronts but mostly due to the fact that it plays up to John McCain's insistence on certainly leaving Iraq, but doing so with the qualifier that it does, indeed, occur on the heals of victory! Also, it takes one of the Democrats' very top issues away from them that they intended to use against the Republicans... and that is never a bad thing to happen!
Isn't it so interesting how that, more often than not, what is a good thing for America, is a bad thing for the DNC?!?