A: Are His Lips Moving?
If you want to know the questions to ask, try reading Froomkin:
In another example of President Bush's post-election loss of control over the national agenda, the debate in Washington is now officially no longer about how we achieve victory in Iraq, but how we cut our losses.
It's no longer about whether we withdraw our troops, it's about when….
Here's a possibility that I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more of in the coming days: That Bush's recent talk is insincere bluster in anticipation of an abrupt reversal (at which point, he will try to argue it wasn't a reversal at all).
In other words: That he's lying.
Marc Sandalow writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "It would be reasonable to conclude after watching President Bush in the Middle East this week that the administration has no plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
"'This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all,' Bush said at a news conference Thursday morning in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"Yet some experts say it would be foolhardy to assume, just because Bush said it, that the statement is true."
Ouch. Although, I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that Bush is feeling cornered and politically lame duckish with a do-nothing rubber stamp Republican Congress which has decided to do even less for the next few days until the holiday break. (Can you do less than nothing? Guess we'll see.)
Here's what is up for discussion this week: the Gates nomination hearings begin on Tuesday in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Other matters up for potential consideration or compromise are detailed here and also here.