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I know, it's from a few days ago...
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed....but it sure caused a bit of excitement this week:
Maliki raised the idea Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he spoke with Arab ambassadors about a security pact being negotiated to determine the future U.S. military role in Iraq.
...Sadiq al-Rikabi, a top political adviser to Maliki, said any timetable would be conditioned on the ability of Iraq's security forces to secure the country, something the government has long said. "In that case, American forces should return home," Rikabi said, adding that there were no discussions so far of specific dates for a U.S. withdrawal.
Ali al-Dabbagh said any timetable would depend on "conditions and the circumstances that the country would be undergoing." But he said a pullout within "three, four or five" years was possible.I suppose CNN's headline: "Iraq official: U.S. could be out by 2011" is technically accurate - 2011 would be three years, 2012 would be four, 2013 would be five. If conditions on the ground warrant. But maybe "by 2013" would have been a better headline.
Or maybe that would sound too much like the one over this story from two months ago:
McCain sees U.S. troops leaving Iraq by 2013Even though technically, he said they'd be home before 2013:
Senator John McCain declared Thursday that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013 and that the nation would be a functioning democracy with only "spasmodic" episodes of violence.
"By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom," McCain said at the Columbus Convention Center. "The Iraq war has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced."Regardless of the headlines, they're saying the same thing.
Funny how much of the subsequent coverage failed to note the similarity, and instead reads like this:
Sen. John McCain, who has repeatedly derided anyone who advocated a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, now suddenly finds himself in a political box as the American-backed Iraqi leadership yesterday raised the prospect of exactly that....and this:
McCain, Obama at odds over Iraqi withdrawal demandSo gosh, what's gotten into these reporters lately? I have no idea how to explain this short term memory loss...
Iraq's hardening demand for a pullout deadline for US troops on Tuesday sent shockwaves through the White House campaign, putting Republican hopeful John McCain on the defensive.
McCain, who says it is too early to leave Iraq, said US pull-backs must be dictated by security conditions, after Democrat Barack Obama said the Iraqi government now shared his desire for a timetable for withdrawals.