How could the Iraqi defense minister possibly prognosticate that Iraq will not be able to defend itself until 2018? That’s 10 years away! There’s no way a prediction like that can accurately be made so far in advance.

Answer: He’s throwing Bush a slow pitch, like a cabinet member of a government subservient and beholden to the US should.

Mr. Qadir’s comments are likely to become a factor in political debate over the war. All of the Democratic presidential candidates have promised a swift American withdrawal, while the leading Republican candidates have generally supported President Bush’s plan.

“And it’s 1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for / Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn.” Country Joe sang that about the Vietnam War and it’s just as true today.