I know I’m bucking a trend here but there has to be a reason Petreaus and Odinero are dead set against initiating a timeline for withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, something they told the messiah to his face yesterday.
Are they Bushbots who simply don’t recognize the overpowering genius of our future savior?
Maybe they’re war lovers and get off at the sight of dead Americans?
Perhaps they’re “Manchurian Candidate” jihadists who want America to stay in Iraq so their friends can kill more of our troops?
Or maybe – just maybe – they know a helluva lot more about what’s going on in Iraq than anyone else in the American government (including a wet behind the ears junior senator from Illinois) and have a view of how best to end this thing shaped by experience and not by what might play well on the hustings.
I am very happy that Nouri al-Maliki has embraced Barack Obama’s 16 month timeline as a template for getting us out of Iraq. It also gladdens my heart that Obama says that 16 months “isn’t set in stone” and that if conditions warrant it, he will adjust.
But what else would you expect these gentlemen to say? As I pointed out yesterday, of course Maliki loves the idea of Obama’s timeline. Once initiated, he gets to control the withdrawal of American forces. The little Iranian loving Shia Sh*t must love that. If things start getting rough again, all he has to do is cry for help and Obama and the American Army come running. It won’t be Obama slowing or stopping the withdrawal that’s for sure. He will have most of the Democratic party on his neck to prevent that. And unless Maliki agrees to a slowdown or halt to the drawdown, it won’t happen. Hence, Obama is in a trap of his own making.
TM: “And then we sat down with [BO] to talk about what has become an open disagreement between military commanders here and Obama, over his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a 16-month timetable. Did General Petraeus talk about military concerns about your timetable?”
BO: “You know, I would characterize the concerns differently. I don’t think that they’re deep concerns about the notion of a pullout per se. There are deep concerns about, from their perspective, a timetable that doesn’t take into account what they anticipate might be some sort of changing conditions. And this is what I mean when I say we play different roles. My job is to think about the national security interests as a whole, and to have to weigh and balance risks, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. Their job is just to get the job done here. And I completely understand that.”
Moran: “But the difference is real. Commanders here want withdrawals to be based on conditions on the ground. Obama emphasizes his timetable, but he insists he would remain flexible. I’m going to try to pin you down on this ”
Obama: “Here let me say this, though, Terry, because, you know, what I will refuse to do, and I think that, you know ”
Moran: “How do you know what I’m going to ask?”
Obama: “Well, then if I don’t get it right, then you can ask it again.”
Moran: “All right.”
Obama: “Is to get boxed in into what I consider two false choices, which is either I have a rigid timeline of such and such a date, come hell or high water, we’ve gotten our combat troops out, and I am blind to anything that happens in the intervening six months or 16 months. Or, alternatively, I am completely deferring to whatever the commanders on the ground says, which is what George Bush says he’s doing, in which case I’m not doing my job as commander-in-chief.”
Terry should have been a little more persistent and not allowed Obama to set up the “either or” strawmen. No one is saying the choice is that severe. What Terry asked was why not withdraw the troops based on security conditions rather than what by definition is a much more arbitrary proposition? Also, unlike withdrawing based on the reality of what is happening in Iraq, the timeline would, almost by definition, take on a life of its own. It would be added to the metrics for judging success or failure. It would be caught up in the debate over Iraq at home. Who’s to say that with a drastically increased Democratic majority that Obama’s Democratic friends wouldn’t just pull the plug and ignore conditions on the ground? They were willing to do it before he was elected, why not now?
Yes let’s start coming home. If Maliki thinks the Iraqi army can stand up for themselves, bully for him. I happen to think from here on out, it is what happens in the Council of Representatives and the provincial councils that will matter more than what happens with our troops. The Iraqis have to create their own rules to live by and while we can advise them and encourage them, there is precious little left for our troops to do except act as trainers and facilitators for the Iraqi army. And we don’t need 135,000 troops for that.
McCain is making a huge mistake in still trying to prove Obama was wrong about the surge. He should be fighting for the adoption of Petreaus’s views on the matter and not hand control of the withdrawal over to the Iraqis as Obama wishes to do. But it’s clear the Republican’s campaign was caught hard off balance on this and they have yet to recover. It’s an open question if they ever will.
The media will continue to portray Obama as the second coming of George Marshall while ignoring his continued flip flops on his position. Last summer, as an example, Obama said he didn’t think the threat of genocide was a good enough reason to stay in Iraq. Yesterday, he changed his mind 180 degrees by stating that renewed sectarian violence would be reason enough to halt the withdrawal of American forces and skew his precious timeline.
And then there’s the extraordinary fact I highlighted a couple of days ago. After calling the war a “failure” and demanding the removal of our troops at the height of sectarian violence and al-Qaeda attacks which would almost certainly have led to a disaster for American arms and interests, Obama now cooly claims he is for “victory” in Iraq – now that the war is won:
When asked if he is committed to winning the war in Iraq, Obama said, “I don’t think we have any choice. We have to win the broader war against terror that threatens America and its interests. I think that Iraq is one front on that war, but I think the central front is in Afghanistan and in the border regions of Pakistan.”
Not only is he a johnny-come-lately to the idea of “victory” in Iraq – a word not uttered by a Democrat for years except in a mocking tone – he also acknowledges (finally) that Iraq is part of the war on terror when his party actually ran on a platform in 2006 saying exactly the opposite!
It seems pretty clear that Obama is signaling to his sycophants that it’s OK to be bullish about Iraq now. All that stuff we’ve been saying for 6 years about Iraq should be forgotten, swept under the rug, and we should adopt a new paradigm; of course we wanted to win all along. All that talk about withdrawal was just a smokescreen, we really didn’t mean it.
Wanna bet he’s going to get away with it – clean?