Al-Maliki Gives Democrats A Hand
Reuters photo of Baghdad bombing scene today
On the day when the congressional Democratic leadership meets at the White House to hear Bush tell them why they should let him run the war without any interference from Congress, four more car bombings in Shiite parts of Baghdad killed nearly 200. Nouri al-Maliki curiously picked today to assert that Iraqis would take countrywide control of their own security by the end of 2007, undermining Bush’s insistence that troops be deployed in the country without Iraqi benchmarks or deployment timelines.
The Bush Administration blamed Al Qaeda for the bombings today, which is most certainly true. This doesn't explain why the Bush surge is aimed predominantly at the Mahdi Army and not at Al Qaeda in the Anbar province, as GOP senator John Warner wanted back in January.
In advance of their meeting with Bush today, Democrats pivoted and retracted earlier calls for a supplemental appropriation tied to a withdrawal timeline. Instead they now want an exit strategy from the administration. Bush will ignore this today, and refuse to be specific about winding the war down. Democrats will then have to decide if they want to hold up the supplemental now, or back down and have the big fight this fall with the 2008 defense appropriation bill, which is what I would prefer.
But at least Democrats can now show that they couldn’t even get an exit strategy from a White House that wants perpetual war, even when the host country now wants us to step back by the end of 2007.