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Democrats Rankled by Slight Iraq Troop Withdrawal Plan

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is not the only Democrat criticizing President George W. Bush’s announcement today that the Pentagon will withdraw only 8,000 troops from Iraq by February — while shifting just 4,500 additional troops to increasingly restive Afghanistan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was “stunned” by the news, while Sen. Carl Levin, (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the lower-than-expected withdrawal number is indication that the surge didn’t work.

Levin’s full statement:

This small reduction in troop levels in Iraq and the continued apparent rejection of any timetable for further reductions is simply a continuation of the Bush administration’s open-ended commitment in Iraq. It takes the pressure off of the Iraqi leaders to take the political steps essential to ending the conflict.

Iraqi politicians have failed to take advantage of the reduction in violence to reach a political settlement, which was the stated purpose of the surge. Saying the surge has worked when it hasn’t accomplished its stated purpose sends the wrong message to the Iraqi government.

In the meantime, the U.S. taxpayers continue to pay for reconstruction projects and economic development projects and even for the salaries of the so-called Sons of Iraq militia — at the same time that the Iraqi government has a surplus of $80 billion in oil revenues that should be used to pay for their own reconstruction and development.

The good news is that Bush will be in charge of such decisions for just four months more. The bad news is that Democrats haven’t been any better at pulling the troops home even as they’ve controlled the purse-strings with their congressional majority.

Can you say: war without end?

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