Bush Capitulates, Troop Withdrawal in 2011?

The left won the Iraq debate. Period.
After years of telling the country that setting a date for withdrawal from Iraq would lead to total disaster -- "I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitment," said George W. Bush on May 1, 2007 -- an out-of-options Bush may be about to capitulate to a 2011 withdrawal of combat troops, according to the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators reached agreement on a security deal that calls for American military forces to leave Iraq's cities by next summer as a prelude to a full withdrawal of combat troops from the country, according to senior American officials.
The draft agreement sets 2011 as the goal date by which U.S. combat troops will leave Iraq, according to Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Humood and other people familiar with the matter. In the meantime, American troops will be leaving cities, towns and other population centers by the summer of 2009, living in bases outside of those areas, according to the draft.
It's possible that this report is wrong: the New York Times is reporting Humood said the deal doesn't have timetables in it, which is confusing to say the least. But if the Journal is right, so much for "demoraliz[ing]" the Iraqi people. That plan is right out of the Center for American Progress' "Strategic Redeployment" paper of 2005 -- get out of the cities, get less visible, move from a combat mission to a training mission, and then go. The left won the Iraq debate. Period.
Spencer Ackerman is a senior reporter at the Washington Independent. His personal blog is Too Hot For TNR.
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