Bush and Maliki Agree to Iraq "Time Horizon" for Troop Withdrawal

President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister Maliki have agreed to set a "time horizon" rather than a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. The White House released this statement today:

"In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals," the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and "the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq."

.... "The president and prime minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal."

It sounds like an aspirational plan rather than an action plan. It's also vague and certainly not binding. I'm not impressed.

Meanwhile, in other Iraq news, it looks like John McCain spilled some beans on Sen. Barack Obama's weekend travel plans to Iraq.

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    "Time Horizon" (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by byteb on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:20:07 PM EST
    Kinda sounds like a new sci-fi show...but then again, everything Bush does like it belongs in a sci-fi show.

    *sounds (none / 0) (#6)
    by byteb on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:21:04 PM EST
    There is a BBC or ITV show called Horizon (none / 0) (#7)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:27:04 PM EST
    Stargate Time Horizons: The Wraith of Bush (none / 0) (#14)
    by byteb on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:40:30 PM EST

    Did you really mean Wraith? (none / 0) (#51)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:10:05 PM EST
    Or did you mean Wrath? Wraith is interesting anyway.

    In the TV series Stargate Atlantis (none / 0) (#67)
    by byteb on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 09:45:40 AM EST
    there's an alien ppl called the the Wraith. Very evil and hard to defeat. They suck the life right out of ppl. It seemed to fit Dubya, although the more traditional definition of wraith that of a ghostly vision fortelling death works too...

    More thesaurus politicking... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Addison on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:27:05 PM EST
    ...a horizon is a line.

    I should note that if I actually believed a word of it I wouldn't mind so much. If there were actually a movement towards stabilizing Iraq so we could leave, whatever it was called, whatever its timeframe, that would at least be approachable. This is about them, after all. Our crisis really has nothing on theirs. It just so happens that both problems can be solved by us eventually leaving Iraq in Iraqi hands.

    However. Some hack, partisan, marketing major wordsmith thumbed through a thesaurus and now we have a "time horizon," a meaningless jumble of obfuscating words. Is there even any policy here? No. This is a pellicle over a void.

    McCain's spilling the beans (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:45:08 PM EST
    on Obama's trip to Iraq/Afghanistan....and he is the experienced one.  So much for helping the Secret Service do their job.

    It appears McCain left his experience in Czechoslovakia.

    McCain didn't spill any beans.... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by p lukasiak on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:32:34 AM EST
    ...and its obvious that its silly season in the Obamasphere.

    here is what McCain actually said that has the Obots so riled up:

    "I believe that either today or tomorrow -- and I'm not privy to his schedule -- Sen. Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators" who make up a congressional delegation...

    McCain is obviously guessing -- and there has been considerable media speculation along the very lines that McCain is talking about.  

    And lets get serious here for a moment -- you don't announce you are going to Iraq, and organize Anchor-Palooza to ensure the best possible coverage, if you want to keep Iraqis guessing when Obama will show up in that country.

    If security is a concern, if you're purpose is to go and talk to people "on the ground" in Iraq, then you do what McCain (and countless other congresscritters) have done and do it without a massive media entourage using "pool reporters".  If however, you're only using our troops in Iraq as a campaign prop, you do exactly what Obama is doing.

    The idea that you are going to have three separate network anchors -- and their massive entourages -- going on this junket with Obama means that operational security is already blown.  


    You know the Secret Service and Military (none / 0) (#25)
    by chrisblask on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:11:53 PM EST
    are banging their heads against the nearest wall over this.  If it had been Obama who mentioned timing for McCain's trip Right Wing Radio would have been howling like banshees and McCain would have been saying "see, that shows he just doesn't understand these things."

    Please - you don't think Axelrod will (none / 0) (#36)
    by Shainzona on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:47:16 PM EST
    expose the schedule themselves and now spin McCain's statement to the max?

    If your answer is no...I have a bridge I'd like to speak to you about.


    Right, and with major press making arrangements (none / 0) (#64)
    by andrys on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:10:01 AM EST
    to fly with him, and with 300 foreign policy advisors giving input on questions and answers for where he's going, no one would have any idea about his general itinerary.

     Today, while HuffPo excoriated McCain for saying, per Reuters, that he thought Obama would be in Iraq tomorrow or the day after (but that he didn't know), a UK paper, The Independent's story, already up, said, many hours ago,  

    "As Barack Obama jets into Iraq today and then travels on to Israel, Afghanistan and Europe, his every utterance will be closely monitored in Chicago, home of his administration in waiting...."

    On Czechoslovakia, (none / 0) (#41)
    by zfran on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:30:31 PM EST
    it appears it's both McCain and Sam Nunn (Nunn having referred to the country the same way) who have left their experience there.

    Time... Horizon (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:46:59 PM EST
    has a sort of timeless almost eternal as-faaaar-as-the-eye-can-see quality to it, doesn't it. It's almost hypnotic in its beckoning emptiness.

    Now if the press would just cooperate and not report on it... and the American people would cooperate by going about their business and not worrying about it...

    Bush as Zen Master (who knew?)

    hate to sound cliched... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:55:51 PM EST
    ...but both candidates are pretending to be tough hawk on defense and simultaneouly interested in leaving Iraq* (in some fashion*)

    I'm guessing that other issues are where the bright lines will be drawn when we get to debate time.


    Well yes, and I'm guessing (none / 0) (#40)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:30:08 PM EST
    that one of those issues will be the issue of "continued presence" as both have referred to it and what form that will take. I'm not convinced at all of the feasibility of the "advisor" or "stabilizer" capacity. I'm not convinced that the Iraqis want it. Or the hidden-base presence like we tried to pull off in Saudi Arabia as though we could play out of sight out of mind with them. That just infuriated the religious elements.

    Wrong (none / 0) (#53)
    by DYBO on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:18:36 PM EST
    Obama is clearly for giving the military a new mission - withdrawal, while McCain advocates staying as long as it takes to "win."

    I sincerely hope (none / 0) (#59)
    by weltec2 on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:39:47 PM EST
    you're right and I am wrong.

    Time Horizon (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 06:58:51 PM EST
    I guess as long as it's not a time line it is also not a "setting date for surrender".

    Any progress toward getting out is good , so I will just comment this once on the Orwellian use of the language and move on.

    They wil make every effort to... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:08:18 PM EST
    ...dampen down bad coverage of the war and increase any news that looks good.
    "See, it was a success afterall."

    at a certain point... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:52:25 PM EST
    ...that means that proponents of the surge should be given political credit--If you accept that the surge worked.  Equally if it worked, that means opponents of the surge made a bad call and deserve to be judged as wrong on that issue.

    How can a pol straddle that and survive politically?  he's got to be good and the media will have to lie for him.

    It also means that the next president, benefits from the effect of the reinfrocements...but the credit belongs to others.  

    Where have we een this before?


    "the surge" was supposed (none / 0) (#21)
    by english teacher on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:01:08 PM EST
    to provide room for a political settlement.  that hasn't happened, ergo the surge is a failure.  i wish obama would say it that way, anyhow.  

    Gosh (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:37:11 PM EST
    Kinda funny all that stuff happened right after Sadr declared a cease-fire, isn't it?  Gee, I hope I'm not disrespecting the troops by pointing out this rather obvious fact.

    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:05:53 PM EST
    So you're actually going to claim I don't respect the troops because we disagree.  Kind of cuts us off from having a good-faith discussion, but whatever.  That's a card I usually only hear right-wingers play.

    Way to be, dude (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:28:41 PM EST
    Let me know if your tactic of bullying people into agreeing with you gets any takers.  No sale here.

    "Agree that the surge worked, or you're disrespecting the troops!"  Bush himself couldn't do it better.


    Heh (none / 0) (#55)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:21:04 PM EST
    I respect what the troops have done militarily.

    10 comments per day (none / 0) (#57)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:24:28 PM EST
    New commenters are limited to 10 comments per 24 hours.  You are at 13.  Please comment tomorrow.

    You are bullying other commenters.  Please be civil or your comments will be deleted.  Thanks.


    I had absolutely no issue (none / 0) (#61)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 12:05:08 AM EST
    with our discussion.  Just letting you know the site rules so you don't get permanently limited.

    Steves got his head screwed on (none / 0) (#43)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:03:17 PM EST
    pretty good, so you need to explain yourself a bit better. Honestly.

    doesn't do any good to tell me that (none / 0) (#24)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:07:55 PM EST
    Obama call's it a success: And it's a success.

    A success he opposed.  If we successfully hand over Iraq to a functioning government that is friendly and survives for a decade, the invaion was a success--an unacceptably expensive and bloody Ephirus style success.  The issue is mainly going to be about the accounting.

    How long is it possible to wear opposition to the war on your sleeve if there's some form of US freindly government in Iraq in 2012?

    Again this isn't a politicl question. It's certainly not about party politics anyway.  It's mainly about the arguments I see beinbg ued to sell the war and end the war.


    Re :Ephirus (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:17:31 PM EST
    Died in a thicket and subsequently had a country named after her?  Or am I missing something here?  

    sounds about right doesn't it? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:01:33 PM EST
    sorta like a dog crawling off under a Bush and dying.

    The surge has not helped (none / 0) (#54)
    by DYBO on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:20:49 PM EST
    Combined with other factors, the surge contributed to decreasing violence, but the underlying political tension is about the same.

    No (none / 0) (#56)
    by DYBO on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:21:22 PM EST
    Will this take the wind out Obama' s sails?

    Will this take the wind out Obama' s sails? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:05:43 PM EST
    It's obviously strategically planned as a way to rehabilitate the war effort.

    i'm not an nyt reader (none / 0) (#12)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:39:56 PM EST

    The nyt will not determine what gets through to people.


    It's very obvious that (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:10:57 PM EST
    Bush is going to claim that the war is winding down already and that it was a success afterall. Obama will keep calling it an error in the face of the argument that the war did work after all.

    You need to actually pay attention to how Obama is being potent8ially outplayed in this topic area.

    Insight?  I'm talking about McCain doing this by suggeting that we've already beaten Iraq down and can now get out:

    To slow down a competing boat by catching the wind in your own sails and preventing it from filling the other boat's sail.

    It' the exact idiomaic use of the phrase.

    Another one is to steal thunder.


    jesus. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:06:40 PM EST
    I'm taking a frikking summer off and avoiding the blogs as much as possible.  WTFAY?

    took a quick look. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:48:47 PM EST
    Interesting that an argument is developing that attempts to integrate successful withdrawal with the shiny new sovereign Iraq; and that the war was a completely pointless irredeemable mistake and historic fiasco.  

    What then, is the Iraq war and invasion?  

    A national liberation from a tyrant or the act of a tyranical hegemon bent on world domination.



    Answer (none / 0) (#58)
    by DYBO on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 11:25:59 PM EST
    What then, is the Iraq war and invasion?  

    A war that was unnecessary and made things worse.

     No matter how Bush and McCain try to paint this pig's lips - Obama has the advantage of being correct on the larger issue.


    Let's see... (none / 0) (#4)
    by santarita on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:16:19 PM EST

    July - Time Horizon
    August - Time Line, Things are Lookin' Good
    September - Combat Troops are Comin' Home
    October - Iraq is a Success


    July - Oil Bubble is Burstin', Stock Market is Going Up
    August - Gas Back Down to $1.50, Market keeps Going Up
    September - Market Back Up to 2007 levels
    October - Fed Declares Recession Over Before it Begins and Inflation is Under Control - See how good those tax cuts are?

    This is a schedule i've actually seen. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:27:53 PM EST
    They are clever buggers.  

    They Are Somewhat Predictable (none / 0) (#13)
    by santarita on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:40:17 PM EST
    McCain is in deep trouble without the October Surprise.  Even with it he may be in trouble.  

    I think capturing Bin Laden is scheduled for early November.


    it'll take that for McCain to win big. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 07:58:05 PM EST
    Even then I think other issues like UHC and tuff like that will be on people's minds.

    seriously, i fear the republicans (none / 0) (#22)
    by english teacher on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:04:27 PM EST
    will draft jeb at the convention if it looks like mccain is going down.  

    He's hoping: (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:04:30 PM EST
    Its a election stratergy (none / 0) (#27)
    by Saul on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:17:42 PM EST
    If they can show before the election that a withdrawal is imminent and agreed to by Iraq then Republicans can try to show that Iraq's withdrawal of troops and Iraq itself  is no longer a major  issue in the election in November.

    We the republicans have taken care of the withdrawal before Obama gets a chance to do it.  

    Republicans to Democrats

    We beat you to it.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:20:55 PM EST
    And who can argue with it on principle, if they actually do it?  Trouble is, if they win they won't follow through.

    Say Anything (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:18:49 PM EST
    General Time Horizon for meeting aspirational goals.

     I think I'll try that line in my next performance review at work.

    It must be nice to have absolutely no shame or scruples about what you say.

    Really, it is an attempt to get closer to Obama on the war, and make the debate less about the goals and more about competence to achieve them.  They don't really have to do much of anything between now and November, just look like they are moving in that general direction.

    After 8 years of the lies, I hope people are smart enough to see through Bush's and McCain's BS, but I have no evidence of that whatsoever.

    Some secrecy all around (none / 0) (#30)
    by wasabi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:22:17 PM EST
    Hmmm.  The Journal Op-Ed annnounces that Obama might be in Iraq as early as this weekend.  McCain announces that Obama might be landing this weekend, although he is not privy to his schedule.  The major newspapers announce all the network anchors will be in Iraq when Obama goes there.
    Clues abound.

    cue the hidden Imam jokes. (none / 0) (#44)
    by Salo on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:04:11 PM EST
    I heard about various trip (none / 0) (#32)
    by kredwyn on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 08:36:09 PM EST
    stops on morning radio the other day.

    Worst kept secret ever.

    Somehow, when the administration speaks (none / 0) (#38)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:09:13 PM EST
    of "time horizons," I can't help but think they might as well be talking about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; it will be something so close, and yet so far, always just out of reach...

    I think of Robin Williams in Patch Adams. (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:22:24 PM EST
    "time horizon"??? LOL (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 10:06:25 PM EST
    President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister Maliki have agreed to set a "time horizon" rather than a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq.


    What Is The Time Horizon for American Casualties? (none / 0) (#66)
    by john horse on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:22:01 AM EST
    So what is the time horizon for American casualties?  How long will Americans continue to die or be seriously wounded?  How long will we waste resources that can be better spent elsewhere (per Joseph Stiglitz over $3 trillion and counting)

    This is BS.  Bush takes the American public for idiots.  And why shouldn't he?  They bought his BS for getting into Iraq. A "time horizon" makes it look like we planning to leave when Bush is planning on staying.