In February, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned against setting any kind of deadline for Iraq. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, he said, “I cannot guarantee you success, but I can promise you this: The day you set timelines and deadlines, it’s lost in Iraq.”
Nine months later, Graham is setting a timetable for Iraq:
Graham told Time Wednesday that the Iraqi leaders have 90 days to start resolving their political differences with real legislative agreements or face a change in strategy by the U.S. “If they can’t do it in 90 days,” he said, “it means the major players don’t want to.” [...]
Graham, who is up for re-election in 2008, said he will not wait forever. “If they can’t pull it together in the next 90 days,” he said, “I don’t think they are ever gonna do it.” He followed that prediction with a promise: “If they don’t deliver in 90 days, I will openly say the chances for political reconciliation are remote.” [...]
“If they can’t do it by the end of the year,” he said, “how do you justify a continued presence?”
Graham’s bark doesn’t seem to have any bite, however. His stern words of warning to the Iraqi government are not accompanied by any repercussions. Time reports Graham “would not elaborate on what kind of plan he would push if the Iraqis fail to meet the deadline.”
For months, Graham has been busy spinning and defending the “surge.” In April, on a trip to Iraq, he famously quipped about the “progress” being witnessed in Iraq: “We went to the market and were just really warmly welcomed. I bought five rugs for five bucks.” Just last month, he said we’re “kicking ass” in Iraq. Now all of sudden, Graham — who is up for re-election in ’08 — is in a state of desperation over the lack of progress.