On March 12, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial entitled, “Do we really need a Gen. Pelosi?” Employing harsh rhetoric, the Times condemned efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to craft an Iraq redeployment bill:
House Democrats have brought forth their proposal for forcing President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2008. The plan is an unruly mess: bad public policy, bad precedent and bad politics. If the legislation passes, Bush says he’ll veto it, as well he should.
It’s absurd for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to try to micromanage the conflict, and the evolution of Iraqi society, with arbitrary timetables and benchmarks.
In just 55 days, the LA Times has undergone a full conversion on redeployment. In an op-ed Sunday, the Times wrote that, now, the “the time has come to leave“:
After four years of war, more than $350 billion spent and 3,363 U.S. soldiers killed and 24,310 wounded, it seems increasingly obvious that an Iraqi political settlement cannot be achieved in the shadow of an indefinite foreign occupation. The U.S. military presence — opposed by more than three-quarters of Iraqis — inflames terrorism and delays what should be the primary and most pressing goal: meaningful reconciliation among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
The U.S. should immediately declare its intention to begin a gradual troop drawdown, starting no later than the fall. The pace of the withdrawal must be flexible, to reflect progress or requests by the Iraqis and the military’s commanders.The precise date for completing the withdrawal need not be announced, but the assumption should be that combat troops would depart by the end of 2009.
The LAT is one of a number of papers that have recently gone from supporting the war to backing a pullout. E&P notes a few others. These papers reflect an unmistakable trend: Public opinion is solidifying behind a withdrawal, proponents of the war are breaking ranks, and Bush is becoming more isolated in his position over time.