GOP Calls for Murtha Vote; US Ally Talks of Partial Pullout
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 11:56:26 AM EST
But Murtha is not the only one talking about significant reduction of troops in Iraq. The AP's military reporter Robert Burns reports today that one of America's most important strategic allies -- a country whose leaders have met with President Bush within the past few days -- is seriously considering the withdrawal of many of its troops from Iraq.In a blow to the Bush administration, South Korean defense officials say they are seeking to reduce their troop contribution in Iraq -- the second-largest among U.S. coalition partners -- by nearly one-third next year.
Pentagon officials, however, said the South Korean government has not notified them of any plan to change their troop presence in Iraq. President Bush's national security adviser said the president has been assured that South Korea, like the United States, will reduce troop levels only when there has been enough progress on the political and security fronts in Iraq.
Still, the talk Friday of scaling back South Korea's troop presence comes at an awkward juncture for Bush, under pressure from Democrats in Congress to find a way out of the Iraq war amid fading public support.
It also highlights the uncertain future of the American-led coalition mission in Iraq, where an unrelenting insurgency is complicating efforts to establish a permanent and democratic government, restore the country's decrepit infrastructure and develop a national army and police force capable of defeating the rebels.The security situation in Iraq is not improving. The South Koreans see this. John Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran, sees this. Tragically, the numbers continue to bear this out. And if the only reaction Republicans have is cheap parliamentary tactics aimed at short term partisan gain, that's their loss, because the American people are not stupid. They know the difference between real policy proposals and shenanigans aimed at undercutting opposition. More importantly, they know what they want of their leaders -- a majority of Americans want to see America withdraw from Iraq within the next twelve months, according to Gallup. So unless the Republicans get serious about the US policy towards Iraq -- and stop playing partisan games -- they're going to have a very tough time next fall.