First, a couple points: Delahunt is a fool. I dealt with his stupid comments in a previous post some several weeks ago. Why he is interviewed is clearly showing the bias of the paper, for the man is a complete fool and of utterly no usefulness on anything, other than as a fool. They could cast him in the next Batman movie as The Fool.
U.S. and Iraq Agree to Goals for Troop Cuts
By STEVEN LEE MYERS and GRAHAM BOWLEY
Published: July 19, 2008
The United States and Iraq have agreed to set a “general time horizon” for the “further reduction of U.S. combat forces in Iraq” following the improvement in security conditions in the country, the White House said Friday.
The breakthrough, which was reached between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki in discussions via video link on Thursday, could lead to the successful completion of a long-term security agreement covering American operations in Iraq — from combat missions to detaining Iraqis — by the end of this month, a White House official said.
"We’re converging on an agreement," the official said, referring to ongoing negotiations between Iraq and the United States on the deal.
The long-term agreement had been held up by differences over issues like the extent of Iraqi control over American military operations, the right of American soldiers to detain suspects without the approval of Iraqi authorities and Iraqi demands for a timetable for withdrawal.
[UNLIKE the Losercrats, Iraq IS NOT ASKING FOR SPECIFIC TIMETABLES. In fact, if you read the whole article, you find out, Iraq's issue is - ensure the US doesn't pull out everyone all at once. Iraq does not want a specific timetable BECAUSE IRAQ understands better than the losercrats that you cannot broadcast to al qaida the day you will be leaving.]
But in a statement, the White House said Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki had agreed “that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals — such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.”
The White House offered no specific dates for troop cuts, but the inclusion of even just a reference to a time horizon is a significant concession by the Bush administration, which has long resisted setting a timetable for cuts in combat forces. It is a tacit admission that the United States’ military presence in Iraq is not endless.
[Are you two writers stone cold stupid or are you pretending or are you simply jostling for Obamaessiah? NO FUCKING PERSON IN THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS EVER SAID, IMPLIED, CONNOTED, SUGGESTED, OR OTHERWISE MADE IT SEEM OR APPEAR THAT US PRESENCE WAS ENDLESS. NEVER. By stating 'It is a tacit admission that the United States' military presence ... is not endless' - is another way of saying - it was endless but now reluctantly they have agreed it will end eventually. WHICH ISN'T TRUE. NO ONE HAS SAID IT WAS ENDLESS. If you raise McCain and his 100 year war, you are a twit. he never said US troops would be Fighting in Iraq for 100 years. We may have military personnel in Iraq for 100 years, but they could be trainers, teachers, army corps of engineers, an outpost of 100 US marines. McCain NEVER said anything to the contrary. It is only the Obamessiah followers and Hillary supporters who did. LIARS.]
The administration on Friday insisted that it had not shifted its position. It said that the move was simply a reflection of the changing nature of conditions in Iraq.
[That's because it hasn't.]
“These are aspirational goals, not artificial timetables based on political expediency,” said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman, who was traveling with Mr. Bush in Tucson, Ariz., where Mr. Bush was attending a fund raiser.
The Democrats, including Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, have long pushed for a specific timetable for troop withdrawals.
Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, on Friday said the agreement was evidence that the addition of tens of thousands of combat troops to Iraq last year — the so-called surge, which he supported from the start — had worked.
“Withdrawal is possible because of a successful surge strategy that senator Obama opposed, campaigned against, railed against during the process of running for the Democratic nomination and now, fortunately for everyone, he will enjoy the benefits of that successful strategy,” said Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain.
In the statement, the White House insisted there would not be “an arbitrary date for withdrawal,” and again reiterated what has been Mr. Bush long-standing opposition to what he has called “an artificial timetable for withdrawal.”
The United States and Iraq have been trying to negotiate a long-term security agreement that would clear the way for American troops to operate in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires at the end of the year.
But the negotiations have been deadlocked.
Recently, American officials had said they were no longer optimistic that a comprehensive, long-term agreement could be reached by the year’s end. There now appears to be movement toward a deal, and the Bush administration seems comfortable in the negotiations about discussing handing over greater security control to the Iraqi army. “We are just where we want to be” in the negotiations, Mr. Stanzel told reporters.
However, a deal seems in reach by the end of this month only if dates for a specific timetable for troop reductions and other specific legal details governing military forces, known as a Status of Forces Agreement, are left to future talks.
The negotiations have been complicated by political currents in both countries. Iraqi officials facing elections in the fall do not want to be seen as capitulating to the United States. At the same time, they are eager for some form of agreement to prevent any rapid departure of American forces.
In the United States, Mr. Bush has pushed hard for a deal to be completed by July 31. But Democrats in Congress are reluctant to sign off on an agreement before the presidential elections, and Republicans are divided on the issue.
The agreement still faces stiff opposition. Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, who has led House hearings on the agreement, described the "time horizon" as "very vague and nebulous."
Like many Democrats — including Mr. Obama — Mr. Delahunt said a “timetable with specific dates is critical."
He also expressed broader legal concerns about the authority to conduct combat operations in Iraq once the United Nations mandate expires.
He said the agreement that was likely to be reached before the end of this month reflected a retreat by the administration, in that it seems "far less grandiose than what was initially articulated," he said.