"As White House Smears Iraq Critics, Pentagon Readies Plan for Withdrawal"
The AP reports that President Bush, speaking from South Korea, is rejecting calls for a troop drawdown in Iraq:
President Bush on Saturday swatted down calls in Congress for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying that American military leaders believe that retreat now would be “a recipe for disaster.”
“So we will fight the terrorists in Iraq and we will stay in the fight until we have achieved the victory our brave troops have fought and bled for,” said Bush, facing mounting criticism from home about his war policy.
But these White House attacks are hypocritical in light of new information that the administration itself is preparing for withdrawal. Here’s what NBC Nightly News reported tonight:
There’s word now that the Pentagon, where planning, after all, is everything, has drawn up a plan to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Iraq”¦ Pentagon and military officials tell NBC news the plan calls for the substantial withdrawal of more than 60,000 American troops from Iraq. The plan was drafted by Generals John Abizaid and George Casey, the top two U.S. commanders of the war. If Iraqi elections are successful in December, and a new parliament seated in January, the withdrawal could begin almost immediately. Military officials say it would be an incremental or phased withdrawal.
So it appears the administration is now trying to have it both ways — attacking those who advocate a troop drawdown while leaking a potential exit strategy. President Bush previously said, “Setting an artificial timetable would… send the wrong message to our troops.” Will Bush put a stop to these “mixed messages” being sent to the troops by his own administration?