Wednesday, September 3, 2008

100 Years or 1 Year - No Real Difference

The Financial Times has a compelling piece about the Iraq War and the "time horizons" being discussed between the Bush Administration and that of Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq. The report by Demetri Sevastopulo quotes General David Patraeus, top commander of coalition forces in Iraq, as suggesting the possibility that U.S. forces can begin redeployment from Baghdad.  He cautioned his suggestion by alluding to conditions staying as they are now, with violence down and peaceful political dialogues persisting.  Still, American soldiers leaving Baghdad, as the article puts it, "would be highly symbolic given the scale of violence that gripped the city in 2006 and 2007."

Now Senator McCain will surely credit his backing of "The Surge" as playing the pivotal role in the new status quo, while Senator Obama will suggest that the Iraqis want us out as much as Americans do, lulls in violence notwithstanding.  What's striking is the frankness with which Gen. Patraeus discusses the mid to long-term future of our involvement in Iraq, and how the administration is not hovering over him insisting on the use of vague, ambiguous terms that carry no consequence.  Obama's at least given details as to how he'd leave Iraq.  Can't wait to hear Mac's response to this.  Fifty years or one hundred, we hav- what?  We're leaving already?  Well, is it with honor?

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