Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) said that he supports setting a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret time line.
Asked yesterday by Robin Roberts if he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home,” Romney said only that he “wouldn’t publish it for my adversaries to see.” Romney added, “I would certainly sit down with al-Maliki as well as his government, plot out a series of milestones, timetables as well, measure how well they’re doing. But that’s not something you’d publish for the enemy to understand.”
Richard Nixon “campaigned in 1968 by saying he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam.” His Defense Secretary Melvin Laird later wrote, “Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 on the assumption that he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. He didn’t have any such plan.” In fact, the war dragged on, leading to over 20,000 American deaths.
Creating a secret Iraq timeline, as Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) also proposed last week, would be pointless. The key purpose of a public timeline is to make clear to the Iraqi people and their government that the U.S. does not have an open-ended commitment to Iraq, and to use that fact to pressure Iraqi politicians to make compromises. Making it secret won’t actually prevent Iraqis from knowing when the U.S. is leaving; there’s no subtle way to pack up and move 145,000 troops and their equipment.
Romney is just desperate to thread the needle between supporting Bush and distancing himself from the war, so much so that he’s willing to embrace completely absurd ideas.
ROBERTS: As president, would you set a deadline for bringing the troops home?
ROMNEY: Well, I wouldn’t publish it for my adversaries to see.
I would certainly sit down with al-Maliki as well as his government, plot out a series of milestones, timetables as well, measure how well they’re doing.
But that’s not something you’d publish for the enemy to understand, because, of course, they can just lay in the weeds until the time that you’re gone. So these are the kinds of things you do privately, not necessarily publicly.