Message from MoveOn.org
I just received this important email from MoveOn:
Three big things happened on Iraq this week. They could mean the beginning of the end of the war.
But since the media have mostly ignored them, I wanted to make sure you saw what's going on.
Here's the scoop:
Iraqis want U.S. Troops out. No one was expecting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to speak up in favor of withdrawal—after all, he's close with the Bush administration. But with elections in Iraq coming up, and a great majority of Iraqis opposed to a prolonged U.S. occupation, Maliki can't afford to toe the Bush line. So he's surprised everyone by standing up this week for a timetable for troop withdrawals and a date certain to end the war. The LA Times headline reads, "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timeline."1
As a result, the "endless war agreement" Bush has been pushing fell through. Since January, hundreds of thousands of us pushed Congress to stand up to President Bush's proposed treaty with Iraq, which would have tied the next President's hands and made it much harder to get out. This week, the Washington Post reported that that agreement has fallen through—Iraqi leaders are putting their feet down and demanding a much shorter agreement.2
And now even the Pentagon is considering faster timelines. According to reporter Michael Hirsh at Newsweek, "a forthcoming Pentagon-sponsored report" will recommend a big drawdown of troops—suggesting "that U.S. forces be reduced to as few as 50,000 by the spring of 2009, down from about 150,000 now."3
In other words, it's now clear: Most Americans are for a timeline, and so are most Iraqis. And even experts in the Pentagon agree.
For his part, Barack Obama is using these developments to hammer home the point that John McCain and President Bush are now isolated in their resistance to any kind of timeline for withdrawal. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times yesterday that reaffirmed his commitment to a timeline that would have all combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.
It concludes, "Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea. . . [F]or far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender. It's not going to work this time. It's time to end this war."4
It's important that we all work to get the word out about these developments. You can even start by just forwarding this email. Most Americans still don't know that the Iraqis want us out. And that may be the single most important fact to share at this point in time.
I'm always shocked when someone points out that it's been six years since we first started working together to prevent an Iraq war. This week, we're turning a corner in that fight. Bush's permanent war agreement has fallen through. The Iraqi politicians are speaking up. And if we keep working together, we just might see the remaining holdouts in Washington coming around as well.
Thanks for all you do,
PS. Minutes ago, Barack Obama finished making a major speech on Iraq and foreign policy. Here's how he described the Bush-McCain approach:
George Bush and John McCain don't have a strategy for success in Iraq—they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops "surrender," even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government—not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq's borders.
You can read the speech HERE:
1. "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timetable," Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2008.
2. "U.S., Iraq Scale Down Negotiations Over Forces," Washington Post, July 13, 2008.
3. "Who Says Less Troops?," Newsweek, July 21, 2008.
4. "My Plan for Iraq," Barack Obama, New York Times, July 14, 2008.