I have noticed a trend in headlines regarding Iraq - The Conflict is Nearing End.
It may be so much so that by the end of the summer, should we continue down the path we are on (no major offenses by militants), the final plan for US presence in the country could be set.
I recently posted regarding a story that the Iraqi government is asking for a planned end to combat forces in their country based on the end of the UN Mandate requesting the US forces for security reasons. While this is taking place, Iraq and the US are working out a long term plan allowing some sort of bases and freedom to engage Terror Organizations within the country. This plan is due to be completed by the end of July... Two weeks from today.
Once this plan is established, all the debates regarding timetables, etc. are moot. Could it be that George Bush is effectively taking the wind out of the sails of the Liberal Warships by eliminating this topic as a major need to be filled by the next President? Possibly.
Barack Obama is attempting to claim success (and a win) in the Iraqi request for a planned troop withdrawal after the UN mandate expires. However, it has been the policy of the Republican President, GWB, to finish this conflict and secure the region.
Bush's policy has caused much consternation in the liberal ranks... however, the same policy has freed the country to democracy, free market, foreign investment, and security in the face of radical threats. Let's take a look at some advancements in Iraq that are being hushed by the left, but on day one of an Obama Presidency, victory will be claimed along these same lines (effectively taking credit for Bush's successful policy in Iraq):
*Iraq's economy: Foreign investment is on the rise, coming from Europe and Asia - the stability in Iraq is leading private investment firms to begin flocking to the country, bolstering the fledgling democracy.
*Iraq's economy: The UN is encouraging neighbors and world partners to forgive the Hussein debt of Iraq, allowing the country to start fresh on the world stage... The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the lead and forgave $7 Billion (roughly 1/5 of Iraq's entire debt). The UAE has taken the additional step in reconnecting ties politically to the country, giving legitimacy to the government in the region.
*Iraq's Security: 15 of the 18 benchmarks set forth by the US Congress in relations to Iraq's security have been met. "The embassy judged that the only remaining shortfalls were the Baghdad government's failure to enact and implement laws governing the oil industry and the disarmament of militia and insurgent groups, and continuing problems with the professionalism of the Iraqi Police." The current plan for Iraqi oil is privatization - though Iraqi oil unions are fighting against that end.
I firmly believe that the mission in Iraq is complete... We have eliminated the country's ability to make war with their neighbors and with the US, we have built and backed a democratic government representative of the people of Iraq, and we have trained and prepared the Iraqi people for security of their own country. The rest is up to them.
Now that we are in the phase of long term planning for troop deployment, the successes will have to be weighed and announced - and the results must indicate that combat is over, and the troops should be brought home (Less the necessary non-combat troops required to populate bases to ensure lasting security in the country - similar to Germany's bases post WWII). Continued combat missions should be halted, and the Iraqi police should conduct such missions. The US presence should be limited to strengthening the Iraqi military by way of continued training.
We will ultimately have to see the outcome of these security discussions (Status of Forces Agreement has been abandoned and replaced with this "bridge agreement"). But in the meantime, the successes in Iraq are evident. The need for US troops elsewhere are evident. The draw-down of US troops in September is evidence that Bush is planning to end this war, effectively removing it from the issues needing to be handled by the next President.
Will it be enough to remove it from the minds of the voters?