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September Switheroo

Yesterday, the big story was the new National Intelligence Estimate that cast some serious doubts about the future of Iraq. Among the things it said were that the Iraqi government is 'unable to govern' itself effectively and that the situation is likely to become more 'precarious' over the next six to twelve months (or one or two Friedmans if you prefer). Everyone was of the opinion that given this new report, any claims of progress by Petreaus in September will be a hard sell.

Leaving aside for the moment the Bushies seemingly never ending supply of cognitive dissonance, a couple of recent developments may render any such report moot.

First there has been the increasing pressure from both sides of the aisle to blame all the problems on Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki. And while the White House denies any support for his ouster, you can't seriously believe they haven't contemplated the prospect of just such a course. Because should al-Maliki be ousted, the new argument could then be that we can't leave because we have to give our "new man" in Baghdad time to get his act together. Considering how long to took our last "new man" to get it together, that affectively carries us through the end of Bush's term.

Also yesterday there was another out given to the Bushies, this one by allies closer to home. By now you've probably heard that Sen. John Warner, who has long made comments calling for the need for change in strategy but stopping short of actually voting for it, has now said that a troop withdrawal should begin after the mid-September report. But it really is just bit of kabuki from the vaunted Senator, since his paltry plea is little more than an attempt to say we need change, just not that much. Bush would likely take the advice if for no other reason than to show how amenable he is (at least when the advice suits his agenda). On the ground, little would actually change and it would just be more 'stay the course' repackaged with a bright and shiny new bow.

In any event, whether Bush goes with the Maliki ouster or Warner's waffling, look for September to be the time for switcheroos.

Update: Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace has jumped on the withdrawal bandwagon while proponents of the surge are placing their bets on Maliki's ouster.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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