Tomorrow, President Bush will deliver a prime-time address to the nation about progress in Iraq. In that speech, he is expected to endorse Gen. David Petraeus’s recommendations to bring home 30,000 troops from Iraq by July 2008.
But as ThinkProgress highlighted yesterday, Bush’s announcement appears to be primarily political. In fact, the Bush administration has repeatedly argued in the past that progressive proposals for withdrawing troops from Iraq would aid the terrorists.
On May 1, Bush vetoed a Democratic-led bill that would have set a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq:
Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure — and that would be irresponsible.
Some more examples the administration warning against publicly announcing a withdrawal date:
“Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq.” [Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, 7/16/07]
“I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake. … I will strongly reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job.” [Bush, 4/23/07]
“He’s also in denial that a surrender date he thinks is a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is defeat. It is a death sentence for the millions of Iraqis who voted for a constitution, who voted for a government, who voted for a free and democratic society.” [White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, 4/23/07]
“The…attempt to micromanage our commanders is an unwise and perilous endeavor. It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region.” [Vice President Cheney, 4/13/07]
“[I]f they [Congress] send him a bill with limitations on his ability to function as commander-in-chief or restrictions on the troops or with a withdrawal date that in effect would tell our enemies we’re going to quit, he will veto it.” [Cheney, 4/5/07]
“Why would you say to the enemy, you know, here’s a timetable, just go ahead and wait us out? It doesn’t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you’re — you’re conceding too much to the enemy.” [Bush, 6/24/05]
UPDATE: MoveOn’s Washington director Tom Matzzie writes in to offer his thoughts on the post: “Thank you for the timetable, may I have another.”