All of a sudden, the administration is ready to say the Iraqis are close to being able to take over their own defense. From the L.A. Times:
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.
That is in stark contrast to the readiness and the willingness of the Iraqi security forces as reported by James Fallows in the Atlantic Monthly (sub req.)
America’s hopes today for an orderly exit from Iraq depend completely on the emergence of a viable Iraqi security force. There is no indication that such a force is about to emerge. As a matter of unavoidable logic, the United States must therefore choose one of two difficult alternatives: It can make the serious changes—including certain commitments to remain in Iraq for many years—that would be necessary to bring an Iraqi army to maturity. Or it can face the stark fact that it has no orderly way out of Iraq, and prepare accordingly.
As Josh Marshall at TPM notes, the debate over whether or not to pull out of Iraq is over; all that’s left is making it look as good as possible for the Republicans in 2006. So all that high dudgeon about “cutting and running” and “treason” and “cowardice” was just bullshit until they could get their own plan for getting out typed up… and they took a good look at the poll numbers.
Why am I not surprised.