"Latest Evaluations Indicate Iraq is Better Prepared for Own Security Than Previously Thought".
Now that the American people have decided that it is time to figure out how to get the hell out of Iraq with a minimum of further loss and Dubya's handlers have finally realized that they are not going to be able to spin it away we have a new story line.
The LA Times has an article that pretty well summarizes the amazing change of situation.
Josh Marshall also comments that it is now just a matter of spinning the news to make it seem like it was the Administrations idea all of the time.
In a departure from past statements, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi troops has advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops probably will not be needed for much longer.
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in which aides say he is expected to proclaim the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for withdrawing U.S. forces.
Some analysts say the emerging consensus might have less to do with conditions in Iraq than the long-term strain of the deployment on the U.S. military. And major questions over the readiness of Iraq's fledgling security forces pose risks for any strategy that calls for an accelerated American troop withdrawal.
As recently as late September, senior U.S. military commanders told a congressional hearing that just one Iraqi battalion, about 700 soldiers, was considered capable of conducting combat operations fully independent of any U.S. support. Administration officials now dismiss that measure of military readiness, saying more Iraqi units are able to perform advanced operations each day.
I'm going to way out on a limb and take James Fallows' word over the president's and assume that there's been no radical turnaround in the training and functioning of the Iraqi Army over the last couple months.
And if that's true, it clarifies this essential point: there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That's over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president's partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections.
Finally, over at Mahablog Barbara notes that if the Dems are not careful Bushco will change the dialogue and use this against them in the 2006 election. We should never overlook the fact that this administration is totally driven by politics. Every decision is colored first by the political aspects and results and not what is in the best interest of the country.