Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Out means out

It was never going to be easy for the neocons to spin their way out of the Iraqi government's call for a timetable for US withdrawal. Today's Wall Street Journal lead editorial shows the problem. It begins by taking at face value --

the Iraqi prime minister ... saying his government was "looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty."

but by the end, the recommendation is that --

Inside Iraq, a significant long-term U.S. presence would also increase the confidence of Iraq's various factions to make political compromises. And outside, it would improve regional stability by giving the U.S. a presence in the heart of the Middle East that would deter foreign adventurism.

Which is more or less the argument made for the original, temporary, Surge. The editorial also makes a strange call for Egypt, but not Kuwait, to provide debt relief to Iraq (Iraq's debt to Kuwait is much larger), and quotes Swift Boater T. Boone Pickens predicting 2.5 million extra barrels of oil from Iraq over the coming years while just across the same page Pickens has his own article predicting gloom and doom for global oil production. These Texas oilmen just seem to say whatever suits them at the time, but we knew that already from the White House.

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