The key to remember here is that Cheney doesn't give a rat's ass what anyone else in the world wants. He's in power and that means he can do as he pleases, him and Rumsfeld. All public statements are intended to manipulate domestic political opinion, and the very real wishes of the American public - to stop this pointless bloodbath - are merely indicators of where people are suceptible to manipulation. The idea that Bush and company might actually respect another nation's sovereignty, especially one where there is oil, doesn't pass the giggle test.
If this Newsweek story is correct, then we're probably approaching one of those truly Orwellian moments when the trained parrots all start screeching a completely different set of propaganda talking points -- diametrically opposed to the ones they were screeching just a few minutes before:A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq [is one of the] key clauses of a national reconciliation plan drafted by new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will unveil it Sunday. The provisions will spark sharp debate in Iraq — but the fiercest opposition is likely to come from Washington, which has opposed any talk of timetables, or of amnesty for insurgents who have attacked American soldiers.
Far from opposing it, I think Washington is probably where the plan originated. Maliki, after all, was the American choice for the prime ministership -- the guy that Ambassador Khalilzad and his band of behind-the-scenes string pullers went to the mat for during the long, drawn-out negotations in Baghdad earlier this year. It's pretty far fetched to think he would pull a peace plan like a rabbit out of a hat and then present it to his U.S. benefactors as a fait accompli.
The final question, of course, is whether such a ploy would work politically -- not in Iraq, where the future of any "national reconciliation" can probably be measured in weeks, if not days -- but here in the USA. My guess is that it could, IF the administration can produce some tangible signs of an actual troop withdrawal before November -- even if it's only a couple of brigades.
While an abrupt, overnight switch in the propaganda machine's output from stay-the-course-forever to cut-and-run-to victory might grate on the ears of those of us who still haven't quite adjusted to the Fox News era, I doubt the vast majority of the American people will care -- or even notice. They'll just be happy that the war is "over" and the boys and girls will be coming home, allowing them to forget the whole disagreeable business. Anyone who believes otherwise must have slept through the last few elections.
Sooner or later, of course, the clueless idiots will find out that the war -- the real war, the war for the Middle East -- isn't over, and isn't likely to be over in their lifetimes, or even their children's lifetimes. But it's probably safe to assume that the first Tuesday in November will have come and gone by then.
It's actually rather simple. Lie. Make it sound like they're doing what the Iraqis and the American people want. Make large noises and do much olive branch rattling. Continue through November. Then stop.
Edit: Ed Kilgore posts much the same opinion here: Secret Plan. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans being that the Democrats really do want to put a stop to the brutal attrition of our troops, while the Rethugs are only thinking about the election. If they cared, they would work with the Democrats to brign about the will of the American public.