NYT reported For the first time, Iraq's political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit itself to a pullout schedule. The announcement, made at the conclusion of a reconciliation conference here backed by the Arab League, was a public reaching out by Shiites, who now dominate Iraq's government, to Sunni Arabs on the eve of parliamentary elections that have been put on shaky ground by weeks of sectarian violence.
If the elected Iraqi government requests such a timetable, or even if it just asks us to leave, we certainly should do so. I am not certain how much weight should be given to a "consensus" that attendees to a meeting of the Arab League, with many countries that want Iraq's Democratic Government to fail.About 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, many of whom will run in the election on Dec. 15, signed a closing memorandum on Monday that "demands a withdrawal of foreign troops on a specified timetable, dependent on an immediate national program for rebuilding the security forces," the statement said. "The Iraqi people are looking forward to the day when foreign forces will leave Iraq, when its armed and security forces will be rebuilt and when they can enjoy peace and stability and an end to terrorism," it continued.
I assure the Iraqi people that the American forces would love to be back home with their families. But they are dedicated to helping the Iraqi people form a Democratic Government responsive to the needs of all of the Iraqi people.Astute Blogger blogged I believe that the Sunnis who are attacking Shias in Iraq will either be unmoved by this appeasement, or encouraged to be more brutal in order to win more concessions.
Mahablog blogged I guess they really can work together and agree on something. The television pundits still talk about staying in Iraq another two or three years, but I think we’ll be out in a matter of months (see “Speaking With One Voice,” below). The only question is, will it be an orderly and honorable withdrawal or something more ignominious? The Bushies and their rightie supporters will be the last people on the planet to realize that a withdrawal will happen, but once they catch on they’ll find some way to argue that withdrawal was the plan all along.