Sorry I’m late, came down with some nasty 24-hour bug yesterday morning so I missed the Assministration’s push-back against the Democratic proposal to end the war in Iraq.
Yes, the White House pushed Stephen Hadley and Dan Bartlett out front and center with Pony Blow to express their outrage over Democratic attempts to bring the troops home in 2008.
First, Pony Blow:
MR. SNOW: It is apparent, once you look at the details of this proposal that the chief aim of Democratic leaders was to get Democrats happy, rather than the more important goal of providing the funding and flexibility generals need to succeed in their mission in Iraq.
Then Valley-Girl Dan chimed in.
MR. BARTLETT: For particular details, they said if the benchmarks — and we haven’t seen all the benchmarks, but it’s, like [Gnarly!], the oil law, it’s, like [Totally Awesome!], liberalization, deBaathification law, the $10 billion, provincial elections — if those are not met by July 1st of this year and not certified that they’ve been met, they would have all troops pulled out by the end of this year, 2007. They said if they do meet these benchmarks, they’ll give us to October to have a specific withdrawal of all troops by September of 2008.
So what this is, is a political compromise in the Democratic caucus of the House, aimed at bringing comity to their internal politics, not reflective of the conditions on the ground in Iraq. It would unnecessarily handcuff our generals on the ground, and it’s safe to say it’s a non-starter for the President.
Yet When Pressed On How The Surge Is Going, Hadley Can Only Say It’s Too Early To Tell
Q Can you describe the situation on the ground in Baghdad and whether you’re satisfied with the progress of the troop deployment there?
MR. HADLEY: Well, I think it’s too early to draw particular conclusions.
Q But if it’s in the early stages, how long do you give it before you can tell whether it’s really working or not? At this point, it seems like these suicide bombers are confounding it by moving north.
MR. HADLEY: I think what you can say at this point is, you know, we’re at the input stage — getting organized, getting commands organized, getting commanders in place, getting troops in place; we’re at the input stage. And that seems to be going pretty well. As I said, the Iraqis are showing up and standing up, and we’re bringing our own troops in.
So I think you can expect in the near-term — and I think you heard this from the President and you heard this from General Casey– that the bad guys are going to try and derail this thing through violence. And that’s why I think people have to let this plan unfold. As we’ve said, as each months go by, we will know more and we will learn more about how it’s doing. But I think it’s going to be some months before we’re really going to know how this is working.
If It Is Too Early To Tell Now, When Will You Be Able To Tell?
Q Will you have a good feel for it by June or July?
MR. HADLEY: Conditions on the ground, it depends on so many different things. I think what I would say to you is we’re going to be learning more month to month, we’re going to have briefings that will be available to the press, to try and give people a sense of how it’s going. And we’re going to evaluate it in terms of what we see on the ground, in terms of the progress —
Q So no month —
MR. HADLEY: I’ve answered your question to the best of my ability.