¿Que Benchmark?!

What's this I hear about Bush proposing benchmarks for the Iraqi Government? Isn't that effectively a cut-and-run position, since it's more-or-less what the Democrats have been recommending for over a year? I mean, sure, they aren't identical proposals, since under Bush's plan there are no consequences if the benchmarks aren't met. But it still has to be a move in the right direction, right?

Well, it turns out that Maliki gives us the bird:

"I affirm that this government represents the will of the people and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it," Maliki said Wednesday at a nationally televised news conference. "The Americans have the right to review their policies, but we do not believe in a timetables."

With less than two weeks to go before critical midterm elections in the United States, Maliki accused U.S. officials of election-year grandstanding, saying that deadlines were not logical and were "the result of elections taking place right now that do not involve us."

So there, Americans. Let that be a lesson to you. When we handed over sovereignty, they took it seriously. Who'd have thunk it?

Snark aside, it really is a problem for us. If leaving=losing, then we are at the whim of these people going forward. If they don't have the political stones to do what is necessary to bring stability, then, under Bush, we are entirely at their whims and mercy. Talk about mission creep - we don't have any control over the mission objectives at all anymore.

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