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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Powell says US will leave Iraq if asked

Dear Colin: Get out!

Well, he didn't say we'd get out if I asked, but he did say they would honor any request by Iraq's new government to withdraw foreign troops after June 30.
Speaking after a meeting of officials from leading industrial nations, Mr. Powell and his colleagues emphasized that they did not expect such a request to come. It is inconceivable, they asserted, for anyone to doubt that a troop pullout would lead to chaos and violence in Iraq.
Chaos and violence they already have in spades. Hope is what seems to be missing--and a US withdrawal would give them that.
But the envoys evidently felt compelled to clarify the issue after some testimony in Congress on Thursday left the administration's intentions unclear. "I have no doubt that the interim Iraqi government will welcome the continued presence and operation of coalition military forces," Mr. Powell said, adding that he was "absolutely losing no sleep thinking that they might ask us to leave."
Of course he's not losing any sleep. He's popping Ambien.

But he said that, in the interest of clearing up any confusion, "were this interim government to say to us, `We really think we can handle this on our own; it would be better if you were to leave,' we would leave."
Could they possibly handle it any worse, Colin?

Billmon is at the conference in Jordan where Powell was speaking; it will be interesting to read his take on it.