November 16, 2005

The Costs of Premature Withdrawal

Shia militias abusing Sunni detainees:

An Interior Ministry statement said flatly that torture had occurred and that "instruments of torture," which it did not describe, were found in the building.

The ministry's under secretary for security, Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, was similarly blunt. "They were being abused," he told Reuters. "This is totally unacceptable treatment and it is denounced by the minister and everyone in Iraq."

In a CNN interview, he was more graphic. "I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees were paralyzed and some had skin peeling off various parts of their bodies," he said.

The dismay among American officers involved in the operations on Sunday was evident from a report on Tuesday in The Los Angeles Times, which on Monday carried the first report of the raid in Jadriya. In its report on Tuesday, the newspaper quoted Brig. Gen. Karl Horst of the Third Infantry Division, the commander of the raid, as saying that there would be more operations directed at uncovering secret detention centers. "We're going to hit every single one of them," he said.

Since the Jaafari government took office in May and gave the post of interior minister to Bayan Jabr, a former leader of the Badr militia, it has been dogged by allegations that Shiite religious militiamen have infiltrated the country's 110,000-member police force and acted as a spearhead of revenge against Sunnis, locking up thousands in secret detention centers, and forming police death squads that single out Sunnis.

Mr. Jabr has denied the allegations, describing them as Sunni insurgent propaganda intended to discredit the country's first Shiite-majority government. He has also pointed to the widespread sectarian killings carried out by Sunni insurgents, who have attacked thousands of Shiites in mosques and bazaars and have carried out group killings of kidnapped Shiites, including police officers.

Mr. Jaafari acted after meetings with the American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and with the American military commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., according to accounts by American officials.

The disclosure of the direct American role in hastening Mr. Jaafari into action was a break from the usual pattern in the 17 months since Iraq regained formal sovereignty, a period in which American officials have been assiduous in exerting their influence behind the scenes. Coupled with the uncompromising tone of the American statement, it left little doubt that the Americans saw the episode as one with dire implications for the American enterprise here.

"The alleged mistreatment of detainees and the inhumane conditions at an Iraqi Ministry of Interior detention facility is very serious, and totally unacceptable," the American statement said.

FYI, if we pull out precipitously, as everyone from Nick Kristof to John Warner seems to wish these days, this sorta thing will happen much more often. And Zalmay Khalilzad's leverage to force the Iraqi leadership to do the right thing, whatever the crisis, whoever the leaders in power, will diminish mightily (roughly in tandem with the amount of U.S. forces being drawn-down). I continue to believe that a rapid pull-out, or too rapid Iraqification process--could leave Iraq in the throes of civil war. The Jacksonian/Rumsfeldian wing will then say, tant pis, we tried to help those ingrates and savages but they couldn't pull it together. Everyone will move on to the Next Thing. But history will record that we didn't finish the job, and lied to ourselves that we had made a real go of it. I'm not saying this is going to happen. But this kind of talk makes me nervous:

Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee who wrote the proposal based on a Democratic plan, said the push on the Iraq policy was not meant as criticism of the administration but was a signal to the Iraqi people.

"We have done our share," Mr. Warner said. "Now the challenge is up to you."

Sorry Senator, but that's bunk. We haven't done our share. We've largely flubbed the occupation and, just recently, started getting our act together. Intimating we will high-tail it out sometime in, say, '07 (the Republican sponsored resolution, at least better than the Democrat's alternative of rigid timetables, urges that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty," with Iraqi forces taking the lead in providing security to create the conditions for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces) merely provides succor to insurgents, and has all the local parties planning for the post-American future (kiss a multi-ethnic Iraqi Army good-bye, and further militiazation and local self-defense initiatives hello).

Lindsey Graham, at least, is more honest:

I think it speaks to a bit of nervousness about public perception of how the war is going in terms of '06 elections," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, one of 13 Republicans who joined 6 Democrats in opposing the proposal. "And to be honest with you, the war is going to be going on long after '06. I'm more worried about getting it right in Iraq than the '06 elections.

Yeah, this was a cheap political spectacle more about ass-covering and '06 than trying to find a real success strategy in Iraq. It's sad, but drearily predictable. Our political class is mostly populated by cowards and mediocrities, and cowards and mediocrities have no compunction about deluding themselves that their cynicism and self-interest is actually instead really noble and enlightened leadership.

Anyway, here's the roll call. And congrats to Graham and McCain for voting "no." (Kerry and Kennedy, of course, voted no for other reasons...)

P.S. This is also bad news for Bush. The Fristian/Warnerian spin will be that this was a pro-White House resolution, beating back the timetable the Democrats were pushing. But Dan Balz has it right here:

For the past three years, President Bush has set the course on U.S. policy in Iraq, and Republicans in Congress -- and many Democrats, too -- have dutifully followed his lead. Yesterday the Senate, responding to growing public frustration with the administration's war policy, signaled that those days are coming to an end.

The rebuff to the White House was muffled in the modulated language of a bipartisan amendment, but the message could not have been more clear. With their constituents increasingly unhappy with the U.S. mission in Iraq, Democrats and now Republicans are demanding that the administration show that it has a strategy to turn the conflict over to the Iraqis and eventually bring U.S. troops home.

"I think this is a clear sign that Republicans are walking away from the president, that they're no longer willing to tie their future and political standing to the president and his policy on Iraq," said Ivo H. Daalder a Clinton administration official now at the Brookings Institution. "They found this was the easy way out -- an implicit rebuke, not an explicit rebuke. But this was a rebuke."

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) declined in an interview to call the Senate-approved amendment, which he co-sponsored, a repudiation of the White House. Instead, he said, it shores up the administration's arguments. He noted that the National Security Council staff had been shown the language in advance and was given the opportunity to critique it.

But Warner also said senators were "not unmindful" of widespread unease in public opinion about the war. Calling the next 120 days critical to success, he said the United States must do all it can to prevent Iraq from fracturing into civil war. But he added that the Senate vote was a "strong message to Iraqi people and the Iraqi government that you have got to come to grip with your internal problems. . . . It's a signal to the Iraqis that we mean business."

The jolt to the White House came just as the administration was attempting to beat back perceptions that the president misled the country before the war by overstating the strength of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. That fight pits Democrats against Republicans.

En route to Asia on Monday, the president delivered another riposte to his critics, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld joined in yesterday, quoting statements from the late 1990s by President Bill Clinton and others in his administration about the threat posed by Iraq.

If the fight over prewar intelligence has become a proxy battle over the question of whether it was right or wrong to go to war, yesterday's Senate debate moved the issue to another arena, to the question of whether the U.S. strategy to stabilize Iraq is working and what is the best way to end the occupation there.

James M. Lindsay, vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the Senate action "doesn't change much in terms of the substance of American policy, but it clearly does signal a change in the parameters of the political debate. . . . It says the American political debate has now shifted to how to get out of Iraq."

All this is a pity, as this is one issue where Bush has it right, and his political weakness is unfortunately reducing our chances of successfully seeing through a major foreign policy challenge. This said, the resolution doesn't really have much teeth to it, at the end of the day. Updates will be provided, quarterly or otherwise, and life will go on. I suspect Bush will still, if he understands the situation on the ground is far from settled, not cut and run. But there has been, as James Lindsay says, a tangible shift in the debate. It's increasingly about an exit. What Bush (with McCain's help) must do is speak of a success strategy, not an exit one--even if we are still in Iraq in significant numbers when he hands the baton to his successor in January of 2009.

Posted by Gregory at November 16, 2005 05:56 AM | TrackBack (2)
Comments

The idiots could have daily updates (non-classified stuff) if they'd read the Centcom web site and a half a dozen of the better milblogs and Iraq The Model.

By demanding this, the congress is in effect admitting they are disconnected from all the media available to them. I read this to imply they, and their staffs, are lazy morons.

This has been the best documented conflict that has ever happened on the planet.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 16, 2005 08:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I love your blog and agree with everything thing you've just stated, except for this part here:

We've largely flubbed the occupation and, just recently, started getting our act together.

How have we "largely flubbed" it? On the outside, it MAY appear that everything isn't going our way, and media coverage certainly isn't helping in this regard. I would argue that the sheer scope of our efforts in Iraq are worthy of regard, and our country (not just the military) have done the best job given the situation. More troops? I actually believe my administration when they tell us the commander's didn't want more, etc, etc.

Look back to history. What other "occupation" has gone from invasion to resident government autonomy in such a short time? It's almost scary, as if our guys are being rushed to finish a job that has historically taken a decade (or more) to do.

Anyhoo...just a few thoughts. I enjoy your writings and look forward to more great insight! Thanks. Zuke

Posted by: Zuke at November 16, 2005 08:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, let's see. We are now debating not whether or not school lunch programs for the poor and education programs and healthcare programs should be cut, but only by how much they should be cut. We have record deficits.......and of course we have Bush asking for tax cuts.

Get a clue, Greg. We can't *afford* to stay in Iraq. There's no money. You may not care because you are fairly well off. However, many Americans do care. And believe me, when it comes down to money for Iraqis or money for the folks at home, the folks at home will get theirs or heads will roll.

We can stay in Iraq indefinitely and hope that some day the country will stay whole and develop some sort of reasonably democratic institutions. What are the cost estimates of that plan? What are the probabilities of success?

Or we can leave soon and let the Iraqis work it out for themselves (just like we did when we formed our republic). Yes, civil war might ensue, but it's happening anyhow right now at medium intensity.

Can you really say that at the end of the day (long run) our staying the course will result in less death and destruction and better government than if we left next year?

I don't think you can.

Nor, if you answered yes, can you tell me what the cost effectiveness ratio would be.

The American people deserve an answer.

I am surprised at how cavalier you are about the spending that is going on to support the war; not to mention the loss of American lives.

Posted by: avedis at November 16, 2005 10:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BTW, the word is that Bush is going quite mad (as in insane, total breakdown).

The smart money on both sides of the aisle recognizes this. My prediction is that he will be removed from office; sacrificed in a scandal or that sort of thing.

Seeing as people like to lump losses ( especially when a good scapegoat is handy) I'd say the Iraq pull out will coincide with Bush's removal from office.

Probably by middle of next year.

Posted by: avedis at November 16, 2005 10:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, did it ever occur to you that the abuse of Sunnis at the hands of Shia militias is something that the opponents of Bush's policies have been saying was inevitable? That we are in a "no win" situation here?

For various (and rather obvious) reasons, the Bush regime's initial efforts to create Iraqi security forces from scratch was a failure, and was fated to be a failure from its inception. When that failure became completely undeniable, Bush switched to a new tactic that was guaranteed to result in what you are concerned about -- the abuse of Sunnis by Shiite militias.

Now, I'm not sure what you propose to do here. Threaten to withdraw our troops if the Shiite militias don't stop this abuse? Start prosecuting the Badr militias -- and REALLY pissing them off in the process? Put on a dog and pony show with Jaafari about how serious we all are about stopping this abuse while doing nothing about it, in the hope that our continued "progress" in Iraq will make it stop eventually? What PRECISELY do you think should be done here that isn't going to make the situation worse?

"We can't just cut and run" is even less of a strategy than "cut and run" is.

This abuse is happening under our watch -- and people like you are complicit in it because it was readily predictable. You can't tell us to have faith in the future under Bush, then disavow the consequences of what you have been advocating --- especially when others have warned of the consequences of doing what you have advocated.

*****************************

Yeah, this was a cheap political spectacle more about ass-covering and '06 than trying to find a real success strategy in Iraq. It's sad, but drearily predictable.

Greg, this whole enterprise has been one big "cheap political spectacle." The Dems have finally put together their own act in this "pageant" and now you castigate them?

Even you described what happened in Iraq as a "largely flubbed ....occupation". Every time the Democrats tried to point this out while it was ongoing, the GOP said "You don't have a plan" and "how dare you criticize the troops" rather than dealing with the failure of Bush's strategy. So the Democrats come up with a plan, and its a "cheap political spectacle?"

Our political class is mostly populated by cowards and mediocrities, and cowards and mediocrities have no compunction about deluding themselves that their cynicism and self-interest is actually instead really noble and enlightened leadership.

What an apt description of the White House and the GOP congress.

Did it ever occur to you that "noble and enlightened leadership" includes "tactical withdrawals" when forced into a battle under unfavorable conditions, rather than sending your troops out to be slaughtered? (This is really the best description of what the Dems who voted to authorise Bush to start a war if necessary did in 2002.) Did it ever occur to you that "noble and enlightened leadership" meant reversing direction?

If we had different leadership in the White House, it might make sense to try and salvage something from the Iraq debacle. But do you honestly believe that George W. Bush is capable of following a consistently sensible path in Iraq? (and if you do, can we meet? I have some oceanfront property in Utah I think you'd be interested in.)

Posted by: lukasiak at November 16, 2005 01:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

MidEastAnalysis.com recently wrote with respect to the recent acts of terrorism in Jordan, "though Abu Musad Al-Zarqawi is a Jordanian it is to [Iraqi government spokesman Laith] Kubba’s credit that he said publicly that there is a good chance Iraqis were involved in yesterday’s atrocities at some level. That is exactly the sort of intellectual honesty the region needs more of."

The news of torture of Sunnis prisoners is horrific. Yet, for a government in the Middle East to confront the allegations straight on reflects a degree of transparacy that is refreshing. Perhaps the horrific abuses which took place at Abu Ghraib were a lesson, both good and bad, as to how a government should approach allegations and, if borne out, its complicity in torture.

Posted by: Charlotte at November 16, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

charlotte: i think you're kidding yourself if think the jafari govt would have 'confronted the allegations straight on' if the U.S. wasn't around to make them do so. which is kinda my point above. once the u.s. leaves, the parties would be free to engage in such grotesque 'score-settling'. As for luka, this blog has devoted not inconsiderable time arguing against 'cutting and running', but i think you're being unfair to me by making it appear i'm just spouting empty generalities. i've tried hard, and blogged extensively, about improving our reconstruction, security, counter-insurgency efforts etc there. it's uncharitable to make it look otherwise, i'd think.

Posted by: greg at November 16, 2005 02:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1. Re Warner, et al.

You'll be pleased to know Greg, that all the hard right crazies at Rantburg agree with you. I however do not. The GOP bill ISTM, largely asks for an explanation of strategy, accompanying targets and some accountability - all the things you have been asking for.

It does not set a timetable for ANY withdrawl.

2. Assuming we do draw down some in 2006. Are 110,000 americans less capable of a prison raid like this, than 138,000 Americans? How many troops do we need to exert political leverage? You note that Condi has done good things in Israel - where we have ZERO troops. Is the Iraqi govt going to be less dependent on us than the govt of Israel, any time soon?

3. I note that one of the prison guards says shiites and Kurds suspected of terrorism were also held there. Which does not justify the treatment in the least, but may indicate this was more complex than the Shiite vs Sunni civil war mononarrative would
indicate

4. Im not as certain as you are that Jaafari didnt have some reasons of his own to pursue this. The Interior Minister is from SCIRI, and IIUC is a controversial figure within the cabinet and a potential rival rival of Jaafari and his Dawa party. In any case, the example of something like this being investigated IS a good example for the region. Now it may have taken US pressure to help Jaafari overcome opposition from SCIRI.


5. Some folks think that the fear of exposure to such score-settling is precisely what the Sunnis need to cut a deal. Im not there yet, but i do see suggestions from folks like Eric Martin that the Sunnis will do their best in the Dec elections, then negotiate, and will use the insurgency as pressure in the negotiations. If that is to be the case, they may need to see a downside to such tactics.

Posted by: liberalhawk at November 16, 2005 04:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You don't think the jafari govt recognizes that to make this work, they need the secular Sunnis on board and the Badr militia sidelined especially as they head into Parliamentary elections?

Certainly, the presence of coalition forces, human rights organizations and the attendant media forces the Iraqi goverment to confront the allegations of torture. That's not to say that the Iraqis currently serving in government are incapable of recognizing that to acknowledge and confront the allegations of torture by Badr militia is politically expedient and a necessary component for effective governance.

Posted by: Charlotte at November 16, 2005 05:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My prediction is that he will be removed from office; sacrificed in a scandal or that sort of thing.

I got $1,000 that says he completes his term.

I'll even give you 10:1 odds. All you gotta do is risk $100 to win my $1000.

Are you willing to back up your convictions with some hard jack?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 16, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would not put as much emphasis on this vote as many have, yourself and Balz as two examples. I agree with you on the need to try our best to do right for the Iraqis. But, this measure only requires quarterly reporting to the Senate. It is an oversight measure, and I think this is important and possibly useful.

A number of generals and analysts say that the Army is stretched beyond a sustainable level. A draw down is not a bad thing, it may be necessary in 2006. Your point about Khalizad's influence and the relationship to a military presence is an interesting one, but a smaller number of forces would not mean less sway/leverage. What is the realistic difference in leverage between 80,000 troops and 160,000? Would leverage really be cut in half? Of course not.

What these reports will provide, in 2006, is an opportunity to examine progress closely -- to have Senators conducting those examinations. Those reports will be important reflections of and influences for the mood of the country. If there is progress, they will be positive. At least that is my hope.

A lot has been made of this vote sending the wrong message to insurgents (Thune). If they honestly read as much into this as some commentators have, then they're not aware of what this measure actually does. Even Thune said this was a "sense of Congress" resolution.

I look forward to these reports, the elections, and additional public examination of the war. If our cause is just and the facts favor continued action to build something worthwhile in Iraq, the public will be swayed into this camp. If the situation is going badly, then the Senate will be forced to act by upcoming elections.

We've got a year, well, 8 months before this starts to really matter. Let's start directing our efforts at non-sectarian army formations (The reformation of the RUC in Northern Ireland is a nice analogy).

Posted by: Chris at November 16, 2005 05:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Purple Avenger.

Don't make such outlandish odds. I won't bet on it, but 10:1 is crazy odds.

Posted by: Chris at November 16, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yikes. Under our control in Iraq (and following our model at Abu Ghraib), Iraqis are brutally torturing other Iraqis. Conclusion: we must stay in Iraq.

This line of logic has as much plausibility as the standard adminstration line that says each time the insurgents make a successful attack, it just goes to show how desparate they are and that they must be losing.

Posted by: Bill at November 16, 2005 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bill of course is wrong - theres no evidence this was influenced in any way by Abu Graib, and the IRaqi Interior MInistry is under Iraqi control


but Greg, it DOES seem a bit odd, that in event that seems rife with implication for Iraqi politics - what is the role of the Badr Brigages in the Interior Ministry, what does this mean to Dawa-SCIRI relations, was Sistani informed of the raid in advance, will we really get credit with the Sunnis for this, etc - your principle reaction is to go after John Warner, of all people. While this is different from most inside the beltway spin, an inside the beltway obsession it remains.

Posted by: liberalhawk at November 16, 2005 07:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As for luka, this blog has devoted not inconsiderable time arguing against 'cutting and running', but i think you're being unfair to me by making it appear i'm just spouting empty generalities. i've tried hard, and blogged extensively, about improving our reconstruction, security, counter-insurgency efforts etc there. it's uncharitable to make it look otherwise, i'd think.

Greg, My apologies. I did not mean to imply that you were spouting empty generalities --- and on numerous occasions, I've said that if you were running things, we might have a chance of success in Iraq. I don't know anyone on my side of the aisle who considers you anything but a sincere, knowledgeable, and insightful commenter on the Iraq question. And you've certainly been in the vanguard among conservatives in criticizing Bush's Iraq policies, and specifically his "interrogation" policies.

But I simply don't see the connection you are making between Shiite abuse of Sunni's, and the necessity of staying in Iraq. I don't see how the US can stop, or even significantly reduce, this kind of abuse, given how dependent we have become on the goodwill of the Shiite majority, and on the role being played by Shiite militia in "securing" the country.

**************

PS... on rereading what I wrote, I think I owe you a sincere apology for mischaracterizing what you wrote about the "cowards and mediocrites" who comprise our "leadership class." I read it intitally as an attack on Democrats, but now realize that you weren't being partisan.

Posted by: lukasiak at November 16, 2005 08:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I read Greg going on about all the "cowards and mediocrities" in Washington after the Senate vote, and found myself wondering what he expected would happen over two and one-half years after the invasion if the war were still going on, let alone if it appeared to be going badly.

Ground truth in Washington is that many Republicans are driven not just by the war's unpopularity at the moment but by their suspicion that things will get worse. Behind that is clearly a growing loss of confidence in President Bush. It is of course convenient for any commander to blame criticism on the weak will of his critics rather than confess to their doubts that he is up to the job of winning the battle. Naturally such a commander would prefer that elected officials go before their constituents and proclaim their determination to keep on keeping on in spite of their sense that the guy running the war has screwed some things up before and will continue to screw things up in the future. Plainly Greg prefers this as well; what isn't obvious to me is why he would expect it to happen.

Posted by: JEB at November 16, 2005 08:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Ground truth in Washington is that many Republicans are driven not just by the war's unpopularity at the moment but by their suspicion that things will get worse. Behind that is clearly a growing loss of confidence in President Bush. It is of course convenient for any commander to blame criticism on the weak will of his critics rather than confess to their doubts that he is up to the job of winning the battle. Naturally such a commander would prefer that elected officials go before their constituents and proclaim their determination to keep on keeping on in spite of their sense that the guy running the war has screwed some things up before and will continue to screw things up in the future. Plainly Greg prefers this as well; what isn't obvious to me is why he would expect it to happen."

I dont think Greg wants things to keep on keeping on. he has repeatedly called for changes in how the war is conducted, changes that I agree with by and large. What I think he specifically takes issue with (please correct me if im wrong Greg) is the clause saying that Iraq should make a major transition to full soveriegnty in 2006. Now I dont see that as any different than what the admin has stated as a goal - and i dont see it as unrealistic - there is growing evidence that the insurgency is weakening, and unlike Greg (and unlike many others on right and left)Ive never thought our presence could long outlast the defeat of the insurgency.

Posted by: liberalhawk at November 16, 2005 08:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would have expected this kind of analysis from some of the hyperventilating right wingers (Hugh Hewitt comes to mind), but I'm surprised to see Greg so shocked, shocked! that politics is going on here.

The fact is that the Republicans have to have some kind of symbolic disengagement from a 37% approval president, and the Dems are still floundering for a defining issue to rally around. It is an almost incontrovertable fact that we will have to pull some troops out next year, if only for rest and refitting, and the Dems are desperate to get ahead of that pullout/drawdown (whatever you want to call it) so they can claim that their pressure caused it. The Repubs, led by Warner, drew their sting by passing this meaningless quarterly report requirement.

As for the abuse in Iraqi jails -- maybe this will be a prod for the Sunni's to get out the vote, and for the secular parties in general.

Posted by: wayne at November 16, 2005 10:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So if we pull out now they will torture each other. So what, they were doing that long before we got there and heck we just showed them new ways to do it. We pulled out of Vietnam to early and the United States managed to survive as I am sure it will if we pull out of Iraq. Lkie someone said earlier, it's the money. We can't afford it anymore.

Posted by: Joseph at November 16, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Purple/avedis, can I get $50 of that bet?

Posted by: Jon Marcus at November 16, 2005 10:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LH, Greg has joined a large group of people who have called at various times for changes in how the war is being conducted. What matters is how the war is actually being conducted, or more accurately if Senators have reason to retain confidence in the people conducting it, specifically in the political leadership of the Bush administration.

I don't think they do; regular readers are aware that I've held this opinion for some time. Neither I nor the great majority of Republican Senators see "cut and run" as the logical consequence of this opinion but do think quarterly progress reports might be a good way to pin administration officials down on exactly what is being done to bring the Iraq commitment to a (hopefully successful) conclusion.

Posted by: JEB at November 16, 2005 11:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Purple, you're on.

Jon are you with me?

Posted by: avedis at November 17, 2005 01:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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