August 31, 2006


The US view of Iraq: we can pull out in a year (Julian Borger, August 31, 2006, The Guardian)

The top US general in Iraq yesterday predicted that Iraqi forces would be able to take over security in the country with "very little coalition support" within a year to 18 months. General George Casey did not say anything specific about parallel withdrawals of US troops. Instead, he said American-led coalition forces would pull back into large bases and provide support before leaving. [...]

Despite the violence, Gen Casey was optimistic that Iraqi forces were on schedule to take primary responsibility for security by late 2007 or early 2008. "I don't have a date, but I can see over the next 12 to 18 months, the Iraqi security forces progressing to a point where they can take on the security responsibilities for the country, with very little coalition support," he said in Baghdad. In remarks published by the Associated Press, he added: "We have been on a three-step process to help build the Iraqi security forces." The first step had been to train and equip them and the second was to "put them in the lead, still with our support". The last step would be to "get them to the stage where they independently provide security in Iraq."

...but it will leave John McCain and Jeb Bush a clean slate to run on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2006 8:30 AM

No way McCain picks Jeb - He'll believe his own hype and figure he doesn't need Jeb to get Florida and conservatives.

McCain-Lieberman. The "Maverick-but-we-really-aren't" ticket.

Posted by: AWW at August 31, 2006 8:48 AM

AWW: McCain, Rudy or whomever, Jeb is the odds on favorite for VP. He delivers Florida and helps whomever with evangelicals. If Clinton is the nominee, no dynasty thing at all.

Posted by: Bob at August 31, 2006 11:02 AM

Bob - I agree on Jeb as VP. I am risking the wrath of OJ by implying that McCain won't go that route due to his personality and desire to be not seen as one of the Bushes.

Posted by: AWW at August 31, 2006 11:18 AM

McCain isn't as stupid as Gore was. Gore would have won running as Clinton's third term, as Bush Sr. won running as Reagan's. McCain will run as Bush III and then Jeb will govern that way starting by 2013.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2006 11:33 AM

Jeb's future may hinge on his brother's approval ratings early in the summer of 2008. While his selection would help with Florida, impress evangelicals and also boost McCain with others on the right -- since the media and most Democrats would bust a crank shaft over the choice -- the senator's habit of trying too hard to court moderates could lead him to go for what on the face would seem a "safer" choice who won't rock the boat in any direction (Romney would also be an interesting VP pick, though in terms of electorial votes his selection has less to offer than Jeb's would).

Posted by: John at August 31, 2006 11:37 AM

Nope. McCain still needs to crank conservative Christian turnout and that means Jeb.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2006 11:45 AM

Well, I hope it's only you guys who are reading elections into this news. I'd hate to think that our government was doing it military deployments solely for domestic political reasons.

Besides, didn't Bush just say that we weren't leaving while he was president?

Posted by: Brandon at August 31, 2006 11:47 AM

All American military deployments are for domestic political reasons--that's the nature of superpower.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2006 11:52 AM

Zarq's last letter complained that everything was going against him.. except the media coverage.

The Western media and the left are the main reason the insurgency has keeps hope. The insurgents are convinced that the US public is fed up and all they need to do is outlast Bush.

Posted by: Gideon at August 31, 2006 1:07 PM

I think OJ's right on this one. McCaine will pick Jeb as his VP after he's wrapped up the nomination and put Rudy down. The real question is will he pick Jeb early or late? Personally I think he should wait until the convention so as to maximize the bounce and buzz coming out of it.

Posted by: Robert Modean at August 31, 2006 2:02 PM