WASHINGTON (AFP) - The number two Pentagon official said reducing American casualties in Iraq was more important than bringing US troops back home -- and pointed to the rising Iraqi death toll as evidence this strategy was working.
Hey, these guys are doing great work for us! Oh yeah, a lot of them are dying as well. Oh well! No biggie!
This is hopeful however. American officials are definitely not onboard with this idea, but it's a very good sign that British officials are openly talking about withdrawal.
British officials believe that the time has come to give an "indicative timetable" for departure over the next 18 months or so, the Daily Telegraph said Thursday, citing unnamed sources.
There would be no firm deadline for the withdrawal, and it would depend on Iraqi armed forces becoming able to deal with security in the country, meaning foreign troops would not leave until around mid-2006, the report said.
British officials argue that however tentative a timetable, it would boost Iraq's transitional government and undermine claims from insurgents that Washington intends to occupy the nation indefinitely, the paper said.
"Giving a timetable would be an important political signal that we intend to leave Iraq," what was named as a "well-placed Whitehall source" -- meaning an official rather than a member of the government -- told the newspaper.
"The main Iraqi parties are already talking about when coalition forces should be drawn down. American knows it will have to deal with the issue soon."
It was pointed out the other day that the ones who want to see withdrawal from Iraq are largely Democrats amd those who want to "stay the course" are largely Republican.
Talk of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq is simmering on Capitol Hill.
It's mostly from Democrats - Edward Kennedy on Thursday became the first senator to say "we must begin" withdrawal.
President Bush won't set a timetable and Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, says it's too soon to talk about American forces leaving.
Looks like the British agree more with the Democrats than the Republicans.