Cross-posted from The Oxford Medievalist:
ABC News is reporting that General David Petraeus, in his highly-anticipated September report to Congress on the status of the surge, will recommend a drawdown of troops by March, if not sooner. There's not much news in this - the surge was always meant to be a temporary operation, hence calling it the "surge." And besides, a lack of additional troops means there's really no way to increase or sustain the effort far beyond spring 2008. What is newsworthy, though, is that the other reason why Petraeus will call for troop reductions is that the surge is working, and violence in Iraq is down to 2006 lows, a point ABC does, in fact, report. The drawdown will probably be to "pre-surge" levels (around 130,000 troops), which still won't satiate the anti-war activists who want a complete withdrawal. But by recommending troop reductions by next spring, with some modest reductions to possibly begin in December, it will buy some political breathing room in the U.S. Congress (ironic, because that's what the surge is meant to do in Iraq.) Granted, it's not what Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wanted when they started the process of attempting to legislate defeat. But, faced with increasing news that the surge is accomplishing results, including the General's own report, they'll be forced to accept Petraeus' recommendations that troop reductions begin...when they were to begin all along. In short, despite the hopes of the nutroots, their Democratic majority will be powerless to end the surge - Petraeus and the Iraqis will get the time they needs to continue making progress in Iraq.
Cross-posted from The Oxford Medievalist.