After making resisting the calls of the then newly elected Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress the signature play of the second half of his second term in office, it now seems the President is willing to accept some kind of timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, as long as the timetables are vague and are called "a general time horizon".
Call it "The Surge(TM)" has been successful, call it our efforts at belaying civil war by arming the (formerly and in the future bothersome)
Baathist dead-enders cooperative Sunnis has, thus far been successful, or call it macaroni... but now, it seems, the President has a face-saving opportunity to hand off the Charlie Foxtrot to President Obama in a position to blame the inevitable disaster following our inevitable departure on the Democrats... and by God, that's what he seems to be hinting at.
So... even as Iraqi PM al-Maliki seems to be mirroring Sen. Obama's calls for a 16-month timetable for withdrawal, so it seems, the President may be signaling something similar, or perhaps he's simply dog-whistling something that my own not-quite-attuned-doggy-ears aren't yet picking up. I have no idea, really.
There are those who say that "the jury is still out"on Iraq. Maybe. I personally would always and immediately come back to "at what cost?" Because, just looking at "the benefits" misses the boat on the full merits of the decision tree (btw, please understand that one of those "benefits" is gasoline averaging well over $4/gal. stateside... causing prolonged instability in the heart of the world's oil-patch will do that sort of thing, and no, a few years of containing Saddam in his box would not likely have had the same result)... I'm at a loss to see what over 4,000 dead Americans, hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of injured and/or displaced Iraqis, and an estimated $3 trillion total-monetary-consequence-cost-and-counting has gotten us, nor what continuing the expenditure ad infinitum will achieve. But that's just me.
For the moment, whatever the President's motives are, like everything else he does in the 10-11 hours a day that he is not asleep, we can assume that they are "short-term political" in nature. We will see how this all works out, of course. When all sides start talking in terms of a Baghdad bug-out, one begins to think that maybe it might be possible. But then, though I'm admittedly not from Missouri, at some point, I'd still like someone to "show me"before I believe it.