Pausing the Draw Down and Muting the Prime Minister

Gen. David Petraeus told Congress this week that he is recommending that President Bush ‘€œpause’€ the draw down of troops in Iraq this July. Bush has accepted that recommendation ‘€œleaving open the possibility that about 140,000 U.S. servicemen and women will still be in the war zone when the next president takes office.’€ Not only do many in Congress disagree with the proposed ‘€œpause’€ but so does the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki.

The AP recently reported that the Iraqi Prime Minister told Bush that he disagrees with Petraeus’€™s recommendation ‘€œciting the growing capabilities of Iraqs own security forces.’€ The Prime Minister told Bush in a 20 minute phone conversation that Iraqi security forces are capable of carrying out their duties and that the U.S. troops should be pulled out as the situation permits.

President Bush is clearly ignoring the Prime Minister even though he apparently agreed with him just last month. At that time Bush said that the Iraqi government’€™s offensive against Shi’€™ite militias in the southern city of Basra ‘€œshows the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge.’€ Further Bush actually has said that if Maliki wants U.S. troops to leave Iraq, then ‘€œwe would leave.’€ In the past, Bush has gushed about Maliki, his leadership and his good judgment. So its rather peculiar that he is putting him on mute and ignoring his advice.

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