Abe, I don’t know what to make of Barack Obama’s newfound position on Iraq. He’s decided it isn’t “garbage” to go see for himself and has announced a trip before the election. This report is a bit baffling:
Obama reiterated his call for “precipitous” troop withdrawal, calling the U.S. occupation “finite” and saying that it will come to a “foreseeable end.” He added that the Iraq war is crippling the U.S. economy and that relief is dependent on withdrawing troops from Iraq.
But nothing much is changing in terms of his troop plans:
Asked if there’s any flexibility on how troop withdrawal would play out, Obama repeated his longstanding belief that US troops can be removed from Iraq ” “at a pace of one to two brigades per month.” “At that pace we would have our combat troops out in approximately 16 months. I’ve also consistently said that I will consult with military commanders on the ground and that we will always be open to the possibility of tactical adjustments. The important thing is to send a clear signal to the Iraqi people and most importantly to the Iraqi leadership that the US occupation in Iraq is finite, it is going to be coming to a foreseeable end,” he said.
Indeed, his main argument now seems to be that it all costs too much. Do you think it would be too much for the media to question him on whether he thinks the surge has worked and whether he was wrong on the single most important strategic decision he faced in the Senate? Perhaps he could explain if he now sees the same political progress that John McCain and others have been talking about for a year. Or he could explain why a withdrawal now, aside from saving money (provided of course we don’t have to put troops back in after they have left too rapidly to secure existing gains) makes sense under the circumstances.
From a political standpoint, will the Democratic base not care that just a couple of weeks after securing the nomination Obama attempts to turn on a dime? Likely not, I suspect since they have a general election to win against that fellow whose surge policy has succeeded over the objections and strenuous efforts of Obama and his Democratic cohorts.