2010

 

I’m chewing over my response to Obama’s leaked decision to pull 90+K of the troops out of Iraq by mid-2010. Like everything, there is a positive and a negative side to it; while my real judgment will wait until I understand better why he justifies this, I’m very concerned that this is really a domestic decision as opposed to one based on the real needs there. That’s amplified by the reporting, which suggests that the generals on the ground managed to pull the deadline out a few months – meaning that Obama is negotiating against his generals, as opposed to supporting them in the context of his larger strategic decisions. That gives me kind of a cold, prickly feeling…

One thing I give GWB massive credit for is his decision to screw domestic politics and push the surge. Of course, if he’d done a better job managing domestic politics…

 

But I can’t help feeling like we’re close, and a little more patience might create the space for a more stable politics in Iraq. Then again, the Iraqi government gets the trump card in making these decisions.

So…this will take a lot more reading and thinking.

6 thoughts on “2010”

  1. …as opposed to supporting them in the context of his larger strategic decisions.

    Awesome. I can appreciate true diplomacy in others ’cause I haven’t much myself.

  2. I find it hard to believe that 19 months vs 23 months is going to make that big a difference in the ultimate scheme of things, unless things start to deteriorate. I also find it hard to believe that any plan made today is going to survive intact, with no timetable modifications, even if things run smoothely.

    Militarily, I wouldn’t worry about it, especially since 30-50k troops are going to be left on permanent station there. Which, really, was the point of the whole damn exercise in the first place.

    Politically, I would worry about how Iraq is going to take this– are they going to regard it as us shirking our responsibilities and leaving early, or are they going to be happy we’re going faster? I suspect that unless I’m completely off base, and 19 months is just way too early, the Iraqi government will be glad to see us with a reduced presence earlier than scheduled.

    What I don’t understand is the sort of full throated roar coming from, say, Representative McHugh– it’s as though he’s obligated to object to this for no other reason than that Obama’a a Democrat.

  3. I think, just as there was a faction who wanted Iraq to be “Bush’s failure”, some want Iraq to be “Obama’s failure”. I think there are some political fortunes to be made if this is true. At this point, 2010 doesn’t seem nearly as controversial as it did a year ago (although I think Obama has fiddled with his time line too)

    To me, it seems like Iraq is quickly reaching the point where the outcome is no longer up to us. Iraq is either going to embrace a diverse government, or all hell is going to break loose. If the sunni cannot accept their political fortunes (or if the shia refuse to address them), or if corruption becomes insulated into the government; Iraq is still in trouble, number of troops be damned. Marc Lynch has done some good posts about this lately.

  4. It is a leak. That means it is just a trial balloon. Emanuel wants to see how this decision will play out. So he released a balloon.

    Obama has plenty of room to retreat if he wants to. Although this does tell us what his inclinations are.

  5. One thing I give GWB massive credit for is his decision to screw domestic politics and push the surge. Of course, if he’d done a better job managing domestic politics…

    I have to give Obama credit for one thing, I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to make me long for the days of (relative) fiscal restraint, transparency and overall competency that were a hallmark of the last Bush administration, but he’s managed to do that.

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