After years of demanding timelines for success, for withdrawal, retreat, redeployment, etc., President Obama’s constantly shifting goalposts might be pushed back again.
First he said he’d order the immediate withdrawal of US forces. Then he said he’d order the immediate withdrawal of combat forces (as if there’s US troops in Iraq on vacation and NOT involved in combat?). Then Obama campaigned on the completely arbitrary and unsubstantiated claim that he’d order all forces out in 16 months. Then it was just the combat forces (again, as if there’s US troops in Iraq just screwing around and not at all near combat). Once elected, President Obama took another 4 months to figure out/fess up that his 16 month campaign promise was just rhetoric that his political advisors created rather than an informed opinion supported by military advisors. As such, he just caved and said he’d continue the Bush Administration withdrawal timeline.
During the Bush years, we’ve been told that the President was moving goalposts. First the Bush Admin told us they’d be able to withdraw forces after the invasion, but an insurgency was bubbling, so many stayed. Then they told us that once there was an Iraqi governing council, troops would be removed, but the governing council didn’t quell the bubbling insurgency. Then we were told once there were elections, the troops would start coming home (20,000 did), but insurgency simmered more, and so many troops remained. Then there were the conditions-based requirements that had to be met before all troops could be brought home, and by that time an insurgency was well underway so security was needed, and more troops were sent.
The point here is that the American people have been told time and time again that troops would come home from Iraq for one reason after another at one time or another. Bush was mocked and ridiculed for “moving the goalposts.” President Obama has not despite his even more flagrant and deliberate misleading of withdrawal dates.
Now that the withdrawal has been underway for over a year (President Bush started it, and Obama is only continuing the Bush plan), it turns out that not only has boisterous opposition to the occupation completely disappeared, but so too has the memory of WHY President Bush kept US forces in Iraq after the invasion. Yes, there was a UN mandate to do so, but anti-Bush/anti-war people always ignored that. No, the reason was because removing US troops by a certain date would give an advantage to insurgents. It would tell them to simply hide, rearm, re-equip, and prepare to attack unopposed on a certain date.
Suddenly, the New York Times (which has advocated the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of all US forces in Iraq for YEARS now), sees that giving a timeline could be a tactical error. Color me shocked.
There is much debate as to whether any new insurgency, at a time of relative calm in most of Iraq, could ever produce the same levels of violence as existed at the height of the fighting here. A recent series of attacks, however, like bubbles that indicate fish beneath still water, suggest the potential danger, all the more perilous now because the American troops who helped to pacify Iraq are leaving.
Wow, what a radical new thought! Too bad the NYT and retreat advocates didn’t think of that earlier. It’s not like people weren’t pointing it out to them. It’s just that they didn’t believe it when it came during President Bush’s term, and now that Obama’s President…well, it must be true.
It’s not like Barack has ever moved the goalposts for withdrawal (err, um), and it’s not like he would ever break a campaign promise and keep US forces in Iraq longer if an insurgency breaks out. No, he’d rather leave, let an insurgency break out, and then re-invade, right? Or maybe, President Obama will choose to keep US forces there indefinitely. Why not? No one cares about Iraq as long as a Democrat is in charge of the war. Hell, they can even use Bush’s own plan for Iraq, and it’s still ok.