I said earlier that this vacation the politicians have been on has probably been the least relaxing vacation they have ever taken.
The news that has been coming out has not helped the anti-war faction of the Democratic party at all, in fact they have lost support from some of their main characters that have been against the war and the surge from the beginning, one example being Brian Baird, who worte a piece called "Our Troops Have Earned More Time".
One senior White House official expressed the prevailing mood, saying he does not expect a "wholesale change in plans" next month.
But White House officials said they do expect Petraeus and Bush to begin outlining what a "post-surge" strategy might look like. They said the key date is April 2008, when the military will have to begin bringing units home unless it is willing to extend troop rotations from 15 to 18 months.
Another senior official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss White House thinking more freely, said he expects the U.S. presence to return to pre-buildup levels of 15 combat brigades and about 130,000 troops a year from now, down from about 160,000. "We all know where we want to get to," this official said. "We all know that there will be a long-term robust troop presence that will outlast this president."
All the officials cautioned that the situation is fluid. Many fully expect the insurgents to attempt a spectacular attack in the next several weeks, and several said they have not heard even privately from Petraeus about the contents of his report. They said they expect Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, to give the White House some preliminary idea of his thinking next week.
The question for the White House is whether the prospect of keeping a large force in Iraq will survive the politics of Capitol Hill, where Democrats are pushing for steep reductions. Bush is also likely to come under pressure from some military advisers to accelerate the reductions because of concerns that the military might get overstretched.
But in conversations over the past several days, a number of senior White House officials and close allies outside the administration indicated their belief that the political debate in Washington has moved in the administration's favor this month, pointing in particular to a number of Democrats who have spoken positively of some security improvements in Iraq.
We will see pissing and moaning from the far left liberal fringes of the Democratic party, but they cannot do anything about the progress being seen but to try to change the message from "the surge isn't working", to "the political process isn't moving fast enough".
I just wish that the far left didn't consider good news from Iraq to be bad news for them, as Americans and instead see it all as a political game, if Iraq does well Democrats do bad, if Iraq does badly, Democrats look better.
They have put themselves in that position, no one forced them into that corner, but it is what they are known as now.
Sad state of affairs.
More reports on this from:
Bloomberg and Fox News.
(NOTE: Instead of leaving you with the advertisements I usually have at the bottom of each post, I will leave you with one of the videos from Freedoms Watch) [30 second video.]