I thought I would re-iterate a previous post.
It is widely acknowledged that the new Iraqi government is a failure.
Most government initiatives fail. For that matter most of the governments in history really should be chalked up as failures.
The whole point of the Republican form of government is that it is possible to get rid of failed governments.
Our focus in Iraq from this point forward should be to get the country to the next election. Our efforts should concentrate on assuring that the second election is clean.
The next election should include a referendum on whether or not the US retains troops in the country. The decisions we make should include formalized polling from the Iraqi people.
It is the second election that matters most. IMHO, When Bush committed our nation to the war in Iraq, he committed the country to doing everything we can to get to the second election.
In other words, the time table for US withdrawal from Iraq should be based on Iraq election cycles. Our decision to stay or leave the area should include input from the Iraqi people.
I think Bush was correct to stave off early demands for a time table. The earlier time tables would have us pulling out before the second election. Bush's troop surge was a success because it got us over the midterm slump that occurs when people realize that their elected officials are really just a bunch of self serving, ineffective cads.
The second election is in January 2009. It falls between the 2008 US election and inauguration. Having a referendum and new government in Iraq means that the next US president will be dealing with a new government. The new president would also have direct input from the election.
If President Bush was wise, he would start directing our attention to the next Iraqi election. If the presidential candidates were wise, they would state openly that their Iraqi policies would be driven from the input of the January 2009 elections.