One administration official made it clear that the goal of the planned announcement was to counter public pressure for a more rapid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on “a sustainable footing” at least through the end of the Bush presidency.
It's not about a defeating al Qaeda or getting the Iraqis to form a democratic government. It's about saving George Bush's pride. The president only cares that he won't be the one who has to make the hard decision to call an end to this fiasco.
Many Republicans have urged Mr. Bush to unveil a new strategy, and even to propose a gradual reduction of American troops to the levels before this year’s troop increase — about 130,000 — or even lower to head off Democratic-led efforts to force the withdrawal of all combat forces by early next year.
That's about the number of troops we had in Iraq in June of 2005.
Of course, this is just business as usual for this White House:
"We should gum this to death," Sampson wrote to a White House aide on Dec. 19. "[A]sk the senators to give Tim a chance . . . then we can tell them we'll look for other candidates, ask them for recommendations, evaluate the recommendations, interview their candidates, and otherwise run out the clock. All of this should be done in 'good faith,' of course."