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July 14, 2008

Iraq Wants U.S. Troop Withdrawal Timetable

At some point the United States will have to withdraw from Iraq. This has always been clear but the question of when is one that has largely been avoided. An Iraqi government officials, Ali Al-Dabbagh stated the other day that the agreement that there must be timetable to withdraw troops must be agreed upon. While conditions will play some part on when troops will withdraw from Iraq, the discussion of troop withdrawal is necessary. At some point Iraq must be Iraq again.

Al-Dabbagh said that 2011 or 2012 would be fine and that he did not have a specific date in mind but it must happen at some point. The withdrawal of troops from Iraq is something that the democrats have been pushing for. However, President Bush and the republicans are hesitant to talk about pulling out troops. I too don’t really see how troops can be removed soon but I know that this war can not go on forever. There must be some end to this madness.

Of course, with things in Afghanistan starting to overshadow things in Iraq, troops may just be shifted. The Iraq war is one that has it’s peaks and valleys but the Afghanistan war seems to be picking up momentum. Troops will be needed to fight the insurgents in that region.

Then there are all of those promises of making Iraq a better place that Bush put out there. Before the Untied States can leave Iraq, they must make is a better place. That means getting the electricity going on a steady basis, having clean running water and stopping the killing and raping of women that have increased since the new regime has been installed. These are all tall orders to fill.

The Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki also seems to be in favor of coming up with some type of timetable for troop withdrawal. However, the State Department in Washington does not seem onboard with these notions. Instead they say that they are looking at the conditions opposed to calendars. So that sounds like the timetable is out for now. The conditions seem to vary and the sending over more and more troops is starting to wear very thin on the American public. At some point, people are going to demand when they will not have to watch their young loved ones die in Iraq. When will the danger of being called up for service in Iraq be over?

Of course, while Bush is still in office there is no competent leader to negotiate with. The Bush administration is not one for reason so it might be best for the Iraqi government to lay low and wait for the next president. No matter who it is, there is a better chance of talking about reasonable options with them. The authority of the U.S. over Iraq is something that Bush greatly desired from the very beginning, now that it is in place, he is very reluctant to give it up. Hopefully the next administration will be more flexible.

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