Exit Strategy from Iraq/No Exit Strategy or Timetable

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On January 18, 2005, "Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice told senators on that a U.S. exit strategy from Iraq depends on that country's ability to defend itself against terrorists after [the January 30, 2005,] elections. ... Stepping out from her largely behind-the-scenes role as President [George W.] Bush's national security adviser, Rice said she could not give Congress a timetable for American disengagement. ... 'The goal is to get the mission accomplished,' Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." [1]

"The U.S. has no exit strategy or timetable for withdrawing its forces from Iraq and a pull-out depends on the readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

"'We don't have an exit strategy, we have a victory strategy,' Rumsfeld told soldiers during a surprise visit to Baghdad, according to a pooled broadcast report from the capital. 'The goal is to help the Iraqi Forces develop the skills and the capacity to provide their own security.'" --April 2005.

"Bush had hoped the successful January elections in Iraq would boost the popularity of the conflict and allow him to distance himself from it. But his aides have concluded that recent events in Iraq have contributed to an erosion in support for the president -- and that he needs to shift strategies. Bush's new approach will be mostly rhetorical, however, as the White House does not plan any changes to the policy or time frame for bringing home the 140,000 U.S. troops, as some lawmakers are demanding." --June 2005.

In July 2003, "Bush sent enough troops to secure Baghdad and a quick military victory, but not enough personnel to keep the peace. And, most ominously, there is no exit strategy." --July 2003.

"George Bush will attempt tonight to convince the American people that he has a workable 'exit strategy' to free his forces from the rapidly souring conflict in Iraq, as Britain prepares to send in thousands more troops to reinforce the faltering coalition effort." --September 2003.

The leaked July 21, 2002, British memo, "from the summer before the Iraq war, ... makes it clear that President Bush had not in fact decided to go to war yet, although military plans were well advanced."

However, regarding post-war planning, and "noting the risks of a lengthy postwar occupation, the memorandum says that 'U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us [Britain] to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor.'" [2]

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