As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
Of course, this is plain nonsense. Obama never spoke to one military personnel on the ground who told him that 16 months is a responsible period of time to redeploy. In fact, according to this ABC report, military personnel say the exact opposite. They say that they would have to leave their equipment behind if they had to redeploy that quickly.
So, when he claims it is "responsible" that is a total distortion.
Then, Obama says this...
The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.This statement is not only duplicitous but inaccurate. Obama later goes on to point out that he believes the Iraqi government has NOT taken the steps necessary to reconcile. (I will speak more about that later) In other words, first he scolds ...
Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.
and then proclaims that we should accomodate the same leaders that he sees as failing in capitulating to a timetable. The Senator can't have it both ways. If this government has failed, then we can't be expected to capitulate. If we are to respect their wish for a timetable, then they can't be the failure that he claims they are. I have already pointed out often that Iraq's demand for a timetable is nothing more than a negotiating technique. (..and agreed with by Max Boot)
Furthermore, the statement might even have simply been and according to this BBC report, here is what might have happened...(H/T to Hotair)
The prime minister was widely quoted as saying that in the negotiations with the Americans on a Status of Forces Agreement to regulate the US troop presence from next year, “the direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on a timetable for their withdrawal”.
That was the version of Mr Maliki’s remarks put out in writing by his office in Baghdad.It was widely circulated by the news media, and caught much attention, including that of Mr Obama.
There is only one problem. It is not what Mr Maliki actually said. … What he actually said was:
“The direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on programming their presence.”
Then, he insists on linking our presence in Iraq to our presence in Afghanistan.
Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.
First of all, our commitment is already being reduced and as things improve that will continue. Of course, that commitment is being reduced because things are improving. If we begin withdrawing regardless of facts on the ground, then all gains will be lost. Second, Obama maintains that Iraq is not the central front on the GWOT. He is right but that's because AQI has been crushed there and they have moved their resources back to Pakistan. If we withdraw on a timetable, we would leave a vacuum for them to return. Ironically enough, things are going so well that we may likely reduce forces in a similar fashion to that which Obama demands, but we will do it because the situation warrants it, not because of some fixed timetable.
Next, Obama is simply wrong that the central government hasn't taken the necessary steps for reconcililation. The fact is that it was the central government that took on JAM in Basra and AQI in Mosul. They have scheduled regional elections for the fall, and according to the latest White House report they have satisfactorily met 15 of 18 benchmarks. Of course, given its origin we should take this report with a grain of salt, however there is no doubt the central government is making substantial and tangible progress. They just aren't making enough for Obama's liking. Does anyone really believe there was anything the central government could have done to satisfy the anti war Senator?
Then, there is the matter of the force he wants to leave...
After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
If this sounds familiar that's because it is essentially the same as the failed Rumsfeld policy we had for four years. The reason we have had such a stunning turnaround is because we have changed into a counter insurgency strategy. He wants to cut that strategy off just as it is on the brink of victory and replace it with a strategy we saw fail for four years.
Also, look at the manner in which troops will be removed...
I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later.
That's all well and good however Obama clearly doesn't account for the idea that these areas may in fact be stable because of our troop's presence. Maybe the bad guys aren't there because our troops are there. If our troops are remove those same stable areas can turn volatile very quickly.
Finally, Barack Obama foolishly believes wars are ended.
Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals,
It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.
Wars aren't ended. They are either won or lost. If you end it before you win, you lose. It is just that simple.