FROM Barry McCaffrey
What Kind of Iraq Will the Next President Inherit? General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have moved to the House side of Capitol Hill today with the same message they had for the Senate: After the surge is over, stop withdrawing troops for 45 days, and then assess what's needed; progress has been made in Iraq, but it's "fragile and reversible," and it could be jeopardized by "withdrawing too many forces too quickly." That sounded right to John McCain , but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have different ideas. We get contrasting views on what the next president will be faced with -- like it or not. Can US objectives be met, or is it "all over?" Is the military stretched too thin to meet other contingencies? What do the candidates have to say?
Senate Debates Military Draw-down in Iraq Democratic Senate leaders staged an all-night debate on their plan to give President Bush just 120 days to start bringing troops home from Iraq. Republicans called it a "circus," a "mockery" and "Kabuki theater." Before noon today, the Democrats lost a procedural vote to cut off debate. Yet, despite today's outcome, there's no doubt that many Republicans are uncomfortable about the President's course in Iraq —especially those who are up for re-election next year, and back an alternative that incorporates recommendations of the Iraq Study Group . Meantime, polls show that a majority of Americans think it's time for the troops to come home. We hear about the marathon session and what's next for efforts to force the President to change direction. We also talk to authorities about troop withdrawal, whether the "surge" still has a chance or if it is only postponing the inevitable.
New Stumbling Blocks for Crisis Diplomacy Just hours before his meeting with President Bush, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was hit by two challenges to his leadership of Iraq. The first was a leaked memo from National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley saying al-Maliki is either unwilling or unable to control sectarian violence; the second, withdrawal from al-Maliki's government by a key bloc of supporters led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. How damaged is al-Maliki's leadership of his own divided country? Would more American troops make a difference?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.