The Washington Post's scoop that the Iraq Study Group is recommending withdrawing all troops from Iraq by 2008 notes that it "would be more a conditional goal than a firm timetable… But panel members concluded that it is vital to set a target to put pressure on Iraqi leaders to do more to assume responsibility for the security of their country." More: "The choice of early 2008 as a goal could also, intentionally or not, change the nature of the debate over the war at the height of the U.S. presidential primary season."
Despite that Post report, a New York Times analysis notes that "the idea of a rapid American troop withdrawal is fast receding as a viable option."
Incoming Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin yesterday "made it clear he would use his position to try to steer Bush in a direction that the president has publicly resisted: setting a deadline of four to six months to withdraw most of the 140,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq."
The Wall Street Journal writes that although Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki "both said it was necessary to speed the handover of security responsibility, senior U.S. military officials caution that big barriers remain to achieving this. The Iraqi Army and police forces remain rife with corruption, and embedded U.S. advisers regularly complain that because the U.S. doesn't control the Iraqi ministries, they can't get corrupt Army and police officers fired or replaced."
"Analysts said the [Bush-Maliki] meeting broke no new ground and instead highlighted what appears to be a growing rift between the White House and Maliki's government."