"At least 100,000 U.S. troops could return home from Iraq by the end of 2008, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in an interview aired on Sunday..." - Reuters News, 7th October 2007.
Congratulations to President Talabani, who has astoundingly schmoozed the Americans into reversing their current policy. It's amazing that he's managed to change Mr. Bush's mind when 70% of Americans can't.
It occurs to me that this could just be a political move - perhaps Mr. Talabani is trying to bounce the Republicans into doing his bidding.
Well, best of luck - I've been touting for a few tasty reconstruction projects myself, and no dice. Back in 2004 I worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority under Jerry Bremmer, running crack and bitches for the young Republican swinging set in the Green Zone.
Let me tell you, it was hard work. Every day I was besieged by shouting, sweater-clad business graduates cramming hundred dollar bills into my hand, calling me Buddy and asking me to track down horse tranquilisers and small rodents for them.
Every night was a Baghdadi bacchanalia, as preppy can-do types reinterpreted Uncle Milty Friedman's permanent income hypothesis while snorting lines of cocaine so wide you'd need a run-up to vault them.
Bremmer was arbiter bibendi, sitting under an enormous portrait of George W. while wearing a crown and overseeing the proceedings with maniacal glee.
"You there!" he'd shout now and then, guzzling down a roll of pills with deep tonks from a bottle of Jack. "Don't tickle her with it, really give it some! And bring me more hamsters, you fucks, or I'll have you all shot like dogs!"
You've never felt fear until you've seen the cream of the 2002 economic theory classes ripped to the tits on Absolut and Vicodin, trying to see which of them could shove the most drugs up their arses before they started convulsing and speaking in tongues.
And that was just a Tuesday night - the real fun didn't kick off 'til the weekends.
All that, and all I got was a thank you, a smile and a see you at the Weekly Standard bash next year!
So, as I say, credit to Talabani for convincing the Administration to go along with his plan - he's succeeded where I couldn't.
If the Americans don't follow through with his withdrawal plan, I advise him to try yawning, then announcing that it's getting late, and that Iraq has to be up early for work in the morning.
Works like a charm on unwelcome guests every time, in my experience.