So, about this plan, Mr. Obama. I have a few questions and a couple of comments.
Political leaders in Iraq have only just begun to look like leaders albeit, shaky ones. Most observers attribute this budding leadership to the security that the surge in US Forces has brought. In your plan you at once point out the failures of Iraqi leadership to rise to the occasion of leading their country while at the same time promote a plan that relies heavily on the ability of this same leadership. You seem convinced that the best thing for Iraq and the US is to begin withdrawing troops at the earliest possible moment and continue to withdraw them until only the residual force remains. You seem to be advocating a sink or swim philosophy for both Iraqi leadership and Iraqi security forces. How is it that you are so certain Iraqi Leadership and Iraqi Forces are actually capable of filling the void that will be left as US forces are withdrawn?
Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government.
It seems to me that the removable of US forces and the message that US forces will continue to be removed will provide a clear window of opportunity for insurgents and al Qaida in Iraq to again step up their activities and reassert themselves as US forces vacate. This is the primary concern of commanders on the ground today. That the gains that have been made will collapse as we draw down forces. What is your plan for preventing this and how will you accomplish that plan while at the time same continuing the redeployment of 1 to 2 brigades per month?
As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in.
Yeah, I’m tired of reading it already. Moreover, immediately after this sentence is the one about having US troops out in 16 months. In my experience, you can be fast or you can be careful but it is extremely difficult to be fast and careful. I believe that the careful way out is this:
The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home. (source)
I think that is the clearest statement of an end game objective that I have seen on Iraq. This is good for America, good for Iraq.
That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.
And what, exactly, do you think their mission is now?
The point here is this. Mr. Obama’s candidacy has come a long way on the belief that he represents significant change in Iraq. The fact of the matter is, he does not. Mr. Obama tells us that he will have US troops out of Iraq in 16 months but then qualifies that by saying that it may require adjustments according to what’s happening on the ground. The more seasoned and experienced politicians, Hillary Clinton, President Bush and Mr. McCain, are more realistic in their statements. All three are more reluctant to give a timetable because they understand that US withdrawal from Iraq will be dictated by the development of Iraqi security forces and government. Mr. Obama eloquently tells the American public that he can get us out in 16 months. By the time the American Public discovers that his plan is pretty the same as everyone else’s, it will be too late. He’ll already be President.
[posted with ecto]