Charlie Cook has some interesting speculation about a Republican exit strategy from Iraq
Republican congressional leaders are already sending not-so-subtle signals to the White House that their patience is wearing thin and that their willingness to serve as spear-catchers for the president on the war is waning. The fact that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz are still in their jobs, however, demonstrates that even not-so-subtle messages are often ignored by this White House.
Many observers believe that unless the troop surge unexpectedly succeeds by late summer or early fall, Republican lawmakers will begin saying forthrightly they can no longer support Bush on the war. At that point, some suspect, the president will be forced to withdraw two-thirds of the U.S. troops from Iraq and assign the rest to securing the country's borders. The remaining troops would spend a little time patrolling populated areas and protecting oil facilities but would significantly reduce their own vulnerability.
To be sure, foreign-policy experts are generally appalled by such a possibility, pronouncing it a losing proposition and unsustainable. But, so is the status quo. The difference is that the pullback scenario is a losing proposition with many troops headed home and with much lower U.S. casualty rate than the current losing proposition.
Regardless of what happens in Iraq, Bush will leave office in January 2009. The question that Republicans on Capitol Hill are asking themselves is how many of them will be forced to leave at the same time.
Don't expect to hear Republican lawmakers say, "We were wrong; Democrats were right." That's not going to happen. Instead, watch for GOP strategists to begin building a story line that the United States spent precious lives and treasure to give Iraqis a chance but that the Iraqi government never did its part -- never assumed responsibility for taking control of its own country, never made the tough decisions that building a nation requires.
Sounds right to me. Blame the Iraqis, never admit that the Democrats were right about the war, and move on.
That's fine by me. Whatever gets us out.
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