The secretary of State was cordial, but forceful and insistent. Wait until September, Condoleezza Rice told Sen. Susan Collins of Maine over the phone last week. Wait until the commanders on the ground can report their progress. "It was a strong plea for me not to join in any calls for a change of mission in Iraq," Collins recalled to NEWSWEEK.
Collins believes her plan—broadly similar to others floating around Congress—will result in a "significant drawdown of our troops." Maybe. But military experts whom NEWSWEEK interviewed (among them senior officers serving in Iraq) suggest that for such a combination of missions to be done effectively, there would be little allowance for any reduction in troops
This last part doesn't get enough emphasis, as all the very serious people in Washington are contemplating the "leaving without leaving" plan, pulling out some troops without really deciding that the occupation of Iraq is not really in the US's long term interests. In practice what they're advocating is doing the same "job" we're doing now but with less troops. This is pointless at best (troops will just spend their days twiddling their thumbs on bases) and catastrophic at worst (troops will be insufficient to support and defend themselves, maintain supply lines, etc...).