One of my favorite political blogges, Rick Moran, has done it again: offered a great analysis of a current event, in this case the al-Maliki government’s call for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Prime Minister al-Maliki is not calling for a complete withdrawal, and he’s not talking about it being done for three or four years, but he does want the bulk of U.S. combat forces out of his country at some determined point in the foreseeable future. And as Rick Moran points out, the Iraqis are showing signs of being ready to stand on their own. President Bush famously responded to a question about when the troops were coming home by saying, “We will stand down as the Iraqis stand up.” Well, Moran is right – the Iraqis are standing up. I’ve always said that we came to Iraq to stay, and that’s got to be our strategy for better or worse at this point, but I’m heartened by the prospect of having something significantly less than the nearly hundred and sixty thousand troops there now. Moran is also right that this is a timetable proposal that is sufficiently modest in scope and which comes from a source that would allow us to accept it with honor and to comply with it in a manner consistent with Iraqi security interests as well as our own. No, Iraq does not have an efficiently-functioning Parliament free from corruption, but then again a lot of nations don’t and we don’t occupy them because of it.