And what a sudden change, too!
The White House has for the first time claimed ownership of an
Iraq withdrawal plan, arguing that a troop pullout blueprint unveiled this past week by a Democratic senator was "remarkably similar" to its own.
It also signaled its acceptance of a recent US Senate amendment designed to pave the way for a phased US military withdrawal from the violence-torn country.
The statement by White House spokesman Scott McClellan came in response to a commentary published in The Washington Post by Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he said US forces will begin leaving Iraq next year "in large numbers."
According to Biden, the United States will move about 50,000 servicemen out of the country by the end of 2006, and "a significant number" of the remaining 100,000 the year after.
The blueprint also calls for leaving only an unspecified "small force" either in Iraq or across the border to strike at concentrations of insurgents, if necessary.
Less than two weeks ago, McClellan blasted Democratic Representative John Murtha, saying that by calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the congressman was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore," a stridently anti-war Hollywood filmmaker.
Biden's ideas, relayed first in a November 21 speech in New York, however, got a much friendlier reception.
It is all very surprising and oh, so sudden. I thought that the Bush administration doesn't pay any attention to polls. Biden does, probably.
But I still don't believe that the administration actually has a plan to withdraw.