A DESERT WIND AND A PERVERSE DESIRE TO WIN. For a while over the weekend, it looked like the Bush administration stumbled into a golden ticket out of Iraq -- a draft national reconciliation plan written by Iraq's prime minister that, among other things, called on the United States to develop a timetable for withdrawal. Rather than embrace this opportunity, however, the administration worked to water down the reconciliation proposals, including the requests for the United States to withdraw.

That little saga tells you what you need to know about the vague noise about troop draw-downs emanating from the White House and the Pentagon. As I said last week, the administration doesn't have a real plan to leave Iraq because it doesn't want to leave Iraq. Duncan Black (pseudonyms are a sign of blogofascism) reminds us that we've been here before. Rather than whining that -- shockingly! -- the other political party is being mean to them in an effort to win elections, Democrats need to keep their eyes on the ball and pressure the administration to actually take steps toward withdrawal.

A good first step, of course, would be to take the Iraqis up on it when they're asking us to go rather than pressuring them to tell us to stay.

--Matthew Yglesias

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