Let keep our eyes on the issues people. While the majority of bloggers including me were busy talking about McCain’s HouseGate, there was important news on the Iraq war front.
The United States has agreed to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by next June and from the rest of the country by the end of 2011 if conditions in Iraq remain relatively stable, according to Iraqi and American officials involved in negotiating a security accord governing American forces there.
The withdrawal timetables, which Bush administration officials called “aspirational goals” rather than fixed dates, are contained in the draft of an agreement that still must be approved by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders before it goes before Iraq’s fractious Parliament. It has the support of the Bush administration, American and Iraqi officials said.
American officials stressed repeatedly that meeting the timetables depended on the security situation in Iraq, where sectarian killings and attacks on American troops have declined sharply over the past year from the peak levels in 2006 and 2007. Iraqi officials, who have pushed for an even tighter target date for the United States to end its military operations, could also end up rejecting the draft agreement.
The White House has definitely adopted Obama’s strategy to withdrawal troops. This is great if the Iraqis agree. McCain still doesn’t want to agree with a timetable. Here is Obama’s response to this deal,
“I am glad that the Administration has finally shifted to accepting a timetable for the removal of our combat troops from Iraq. Success in Iraq depends on an Iraqi government that is reconciling its differences and taking responsibility for its future, and a timetable is the best way to press the Iraqis to do just that. I welcome the growing convergence around this pragmatic and responsible position.
“This agreement is still draft and vital pieces of it must be finalized, so I will reserve final judgment on the agreement until it is complete. The agreement needs to be carefully reviewed, and must include immunity for U.S. troops and Defense Department personnel from Iraqi jurisdiction. I continue to believe that in consultation with our commanders and the Iraqi government, we can safely redeploy at a pace that removes our combat brigades in 16 months, with a residual force to target remnants of al Qaeda; to protect our service members and diplomats; and to train Iraq’s Security Forces if the Iraqis make political progress.
“Senator McCain has stubbornly focused on maintaining an indefinite U.S presence in Iraq, but events have made his bluster and record increasingly out of touch with reality. While Senator McCain continues to offer unconditional military and economic support for Iraq, I strongly believe that we need to use our leverage with the Iraqi government to ensure a political settlement. In addition to a timetable, we should only train Iraqi Security Forces if Iraq’s leaders reconcile their differences, and we must insist that Iraq invests its $79 billion surplus on rebuilding its own country. It’s time to succeed in Iraq and to honor the sacrifice of our servicemen and women by leaving Iraq to a sovereign Iraqi government.
“Ending the war in Iraq responsibly is in the broader strategic interests of the United States. It’s long past time to drawdown our troop presence and to stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq so that we can increase resources for the mission in Afghanistan, rebuild our military, and invest in our struggling economy at home,” said Senator Obama.
Based on polls the Iraq war isn’t even the second most important issue to voters anymore. This may benefit either McCain or Obama. McCain we know is going to say this proves the surge worked. Obama is going to say that the White House is adopting his plans for withdrawal.
I think this works in Obama’s favor. This leaves Mccain as the war mongerer, who still wants us to be in Iraq. Plus no objective thinking person can say that the surge is why we are able to withdrawal when there are so many other reasons. I think the logic of McCain is pretty screwed up. He says we should stay in Iraq for 100years, as long as no one is shooting at the troops. This doesn’t make sense, because if we use McCain’s logic then we would be in Iraq forever, because there is no way that Al Queda or terrorist organizations are not going to try to attack US forces. So McCain’s position to keep a huge amount of strike forces in Iraq is really serious if he become president. I really think Obama is going to win on this issue, it shows that his policies are good enough that the White House would adopt them. Also this shows Obama’s judgement. He said it was a mistake to go into Iraq and that we should put focus on Afghanistan, he was right and Bush administration, maybe too late but nonetheless are finally adopting this strategy. Now that we are stuck in Iraq Obama’s plan for troop withdrawal is being adopted by this administration. So this just proves his ability and judgement to deal with situations before they happen and after they happen. I say its a win for Obama and a win for America, and Im happy the Bush administration went with this direction.