Iraq Withdrawal Plan Gains G.O.P. SupportI know that I was supposed to be thinking that this was Obama following through on his campaign pledge that "we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most". But to me it sounded more familiar; it sounded like the Patraeus plan begun under Bush:
WASHINGTON – President Obama won crucial backing Thursday for his Iraq military drawdown plan from leading Congressional Republicans, including Senator John McCain, the party’s presidential nominee who spent much of last year debating the war with Mr. Obama.
As the president prepared to fly to Camp Lejenue, N.C., on Friday to announce his decision to pull combat forces out by August 2010 but leave behind a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops, he reassured Congressional leaders from both parties that his plan would not jeopardize hard-won stability in Iraq.
US draws down forces as Iraqis stand up security forcesI recommend reading the whole article. Here I will just grab some numbers...
The plan for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to take over Iraq security is directly linked to the US plan to draw down forces and as briefed by General Petraeus in September 2007.
I was a bit slow in writing this, and I see that in the meantime I was not the only one who noticed this similarity. I found IBDeditorials captured my thoughts best:
Reduction from 20 to 15 combat brigades.Multinational Forces Iraq completed the drawdown from 20 to 15 combat brigades in July 2008.
Reduction from 15 to 12 brigades.The decision to draw down forces will be made by September 2008 so that the drawdown can be completed by January 2009.
Reduction from 12 to 10 brigades.The decision to draw down forces will be made by March 2009 so that the drawdown can be completed by July 2009.
Reducing from 10 to 7 brigades.The decision to draw down forces will be made by September 2009 so that the drawdown can be completed by January 2010.
Reduction from 7 to 5 brigades.The decision to draw down forces will be made by March 2010 so that the drawdown can be completed by July 2010.
Reducing from 5 to 0 brigades.The decision to draw down forces will be made by September 2010 so that the drawdown can be completed by January 2011.
The Bush PulloutAgain, I recommend reading the whole article.
Iraq War: President Obama traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Friday to announce that the U.S. would stay in Iraq at least until 2012 and keep 50,000 troops there even after combat ends. Sound familiar?
Obama's withdrawal plan would take U.S. forces in Iraq down from a current 142,000 troops to 35,000 to 50,000. Under the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iran, negotiated and signed last year by the Bush administration, all forces must be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
In short, though President Obama will get credit, it was Bush's plan — not Obama's.
The devil, I guess, is in the Details:
The Status of Forces Agreement and Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq have vanished from the White House web page - but they're apparently still being implemented.Of course, much of this was entirely predictable, given the logistics. Is there anything new here that Obama has done, other than twiddling numbers and dates a bit and claiming credit for others' efforts?
It's official: any combat forces in Iraq after August 2010 will be called something else.