THE END OF THE SURGE….According to the Washington Post, White House aides say that President Bush will announce on Thursday that he plans to withdraw 30,000 troops from Iraq by the middle of next year:

They said the president plans to emphasize that he is in a position to order troop cuts only because of the success achieved on the ground in Iraq, and that he is not being swayed by political opposition. Aides said that he plans to outline once again what he sees as the dire consequences of failure in Iraq and that he will make the troop cuts conditional on continued military gains.

Look, Bush is a politician and I don’t blame him for putting the best face on his decisions. Still, this is pretty rich. Everyone on the planet knows perfectly well that we’re not withdrawing these troops next year because we’ve achieved some grand success on the ground in Iraq. We haven’t, and Bush knows it. We’re withdrawing them because the Army has no operational choice.

However, while I don’t really blame Bush for trying this ploy, I do blame Michael Abramowitz and Jonathan Weisman for letting it stand without bothering to tell their readers the truth. It’s not that hard, guys.