The End of the Iraq War Is in Sight

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american_flag_iraq165.gif So at this point there is no doubt: the Bush Administration supports a timetable for withdrawal.

Specifically, it supports withdrawing American troops out of Iraqi cities by summer 2009 and out of the rest of the country by the end of 2011. Those are the terms of a draft accord the Bush Administration is putting in front of Iraq’s leaders for ratification. The quickness with which American combat operations are supposed to cease is reportedly the price the Administration had to pay for the Iraqi government’s legalization of the American military presence in Iraq after this year, when the United Nations mandate currently authorizing the American presence expires. It is unclear whether the accord addresses the issue of permanent bases in Iraq, which are supported by John McCain and opposed by Barack Obama and wide swaths of the Iraqi public.

Of course, the Administration said that these dates are “aspirational goals” and that the actual pace of withdrawal will depend on the security situation in Iraq. But the fact is that the Bush Administration has put a plan for withdrawal on the table.

One has to ask — how does this change when the next president takes office? Barack Obama has said that he would have all combat troops home from Iraq in 16 months, meaning spring or summer of 2010. Would he rewrite the accord, if it is in fact ratified shortly, to speed up the pace of withdrawal?

McCain has remained vague, saying at one point that Obama’s 16-month timetable was “pretty good,” then frantically denying he said any such thing, adding, “Anything is a good timetable that is dictated by conditions on the ground.” As everyone knows, he sees a long-term, Korea-like American presence in Iraq. Would McCain rewrite the accord if he feels American troops need to be kept in Iraq longer? It would appear almost completely impossible to get Iraqi leaders, who favor a plan along the lines of Barack Obama’s, to agree to such a move.

And furthermore, how does this change the presidential election? Can McCain continue calling Obama a surrendercrat (not in that language, of course) for supporting a plan that is not too far off from what the Bush Administration is currently pushing and that the Iraqi government may soon approve?

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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