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Troop withdrawal: Propaganda war

Over the weekend, plans of American and British troops to completely withdraw from Iraq by 2007 made headlines in two major British newspapers. Reuters newswire service reported the development on this side of the pond with hardly a splash in our major media.

The Washington Post lobbed a response back at the Brits on Monday that quoted a U.S. military spokesperson in Iraq who said the reported information was completely false.

Tuesday, the London Telegraph fired back with an article substantiating its previous report and identifying the senior military official as Lt. General Nick Houghton, who claims that withdrawal of troops may begin as early as within a few weeks and be completed by the summer of 2008. Houghton is the senior Army official for Great Britain and defers only to U.S. General George W. Casey, who is in charge of military operations in Iraq. Houghton further claims that even the bombing of an ancient mosque and the resulting near-civil war has not deterred withdrawal plans.

Despite officials hedging all bets with disclaimers, it appears rather conspicuous that news of leaving Iraq hits the newspapers in the U.K. while U.S. media outlets analyze how Crash upset Brokeback Mountain.

Perhaps former CNN Anchor Aaron Brown was correct when he suggested to an audience at SOU last week that the mainstream television news placates to the whims of its viewing audiences. Or maybe the American public is smart to opt for Hollywood hype over the D.C. variety.

After all, the propaganda of pullout has been heard before.

In November 1995, president Bill Clinton announced he would have the troops in Bosnia home in a year. They are still there.

In 2003, when Germany refused to cooperate with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we threatened to pull out the 75,000+ U.S. troops stationed on German soil.

It never happened.

In November 2005, Bush was announcing a drawback of 40,000 troops in 2006. Following that appeasement to a war-weary public, the former Interim Prime Minister of Iraq warned that any withdrawal by the U.S. would lead to civil war. A smaller withdrawal of 15,000 was planned.

Someone then blew the dome off of a revered mosque, pushing Iraq near civil war.

Officials said we could not leave.

The public became impatient and angry. Poll numbers plummeted.

Again we heard the appeasement propaganda that spoke of withdrawal.

The pattern just repeats itself. We plan to withdraw, say officials. Experts predict doom and gloom. Doom occurs. We can&

t withdraw, say officials. The public protests. We plan to withdraw, say officials. Experts predict doom and gloom. Gloom occurs. We can&

t withdraw, say officials. The public protests.

This may well be as entertaining as the Oscars, but while the British find fun in such fodder, the American public has tuned it out &

133; preferring to watch the White House for a long-awaited withdrawal from the Oval Office.