Mr. Bush has changed his mind and evidently failed to consult with Mr. McCain.
According to a story by NPR, "American and Iraqi negotiators have reached a tentative agreement governing the use of American forces in Iraq over the next three years...
"The draft Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA as it's called ... hasn't been released to the public."
SOFA contains two items which appear to be sticking points for both sides - the U.S. and the Iraqis. One says that American personnel, military and civilian, who are "accused of committing serious crimes while off-duty and off-base can be tried in Iraqi courts."
The other sticking point is the timeline. "The draft calls for all American combat troops to be out of Iraq by 2012."
McCain, as Senator Obama has pointed out, was wrong about the Iraqi invasion from the beginning and he's wrong about what to do now.
The war in Iraq cannot be "won" because it is not a war, it is an occupation, and we are involved in fighting native insurgents, not to "win" anything, but to keep the peace until the politicians can get their heads together and figure out an ass-saving way to get out of the mess.
It appears the end may be in sight. And as the Iraqi situation begins to draw to a close, sadness washes across us for once again we are bludgeoned with the realization that it was all so unnecessary.
Saddam Hussein had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, and in fact was a hated enemy of our real enemy -- the man who did perpetrate 9/11, Osama bin Laden. Saddam was not a nice man, but he was no threat to the United States, in spite of the rhetoric spewed across our land by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and the rest of the neocon desk "warriors."
2012. That's the proposed withdrawal date. That will be the actual date if SOFA is approved by the respective governments involved.
* * * *
The Associated Press reported today that "at least 4,185 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003."
Here are some other numbers:
Britain - 176
Italy - 33
Ukraine - 18
Poland - 21
Bulgaria - 13
Spain - 11
Denmark - 7
El Salvador - 5
Slovakia - 4
Latvia and Georgia - 3 each
Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand and Romania - 2 each
Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and South Korea - 1 each.
While we credit these men and women for their commitment to their countries and to whatever ideals drove them to fight in Iraq, the terrible, horrifying, eternal fact is that each died in vain.
Not one single death was necessary! Not one! But how many more will die needlessly in the next four years?
Their blood drips from the hands of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Dick Rumsfeld and the neocons who cooked up this godawful disaster. Frankly, if there is a god, he's gonna get 'em, whether they believe in Jesus or not!
And I can guarantee that one of the questions most present in the minds of those still left in Iraq as the months and years slip by is simply this: "Will I be the last to die?"