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July 21, 2008

Comments

Not just his take silly hilzoy. Petraeus' take too. And if there's one thing Petraeus knows better than the Iraqi people, it's what the Iraqi people want.

It's a pity that this strategy requires that he look like a complete idiot, and adopt an insulting attitude towards the Iraqi government and its people that would surely not serve him well were he elected President, but them's the breaks.

Isn't Bush currently President? Oh, you were talking about McCain...

"We are hoping that in 2010 that combat troops will withdraw from Iraq," al-Dabbagh told reporters, noting that any withdrawal plan was subject to change if the level of violence kicks up again."

Isn't this a withdrawal based on conditions?

As I understand it, Obama's plan now includes a "subject to change if the level of violence kicks up again" condition. So, isn't the real story here -- to the extent that there is one -- that Petraeus, Obama, McCain, and Bush all agree in principle? Granted, they emphasize different things, but on a practical level:

Obama: We will withdraw in 16 months (be we'll leave a residual force, and we won't withdraw if violence kicks up).

McCain/Bush/Patreus: We won't withdraw until situations allow us to, and of course we'll leave a residual force (but we expect to start drawing down forces soon).

Maliki: Boy, it'd be great if you guys withdraw by 2010, but don't withdraw if violence kicks up.

Indeed, von.

Everybody's finally on board with the ISG Report.

Everybody's finally on board with the ISG Report.

It was inevitable.

So, isn't the real story here -- to the extent that there is one -- that Petraeus, Obama, McCain, and Bush all agree in principle?

You mean "in theory."

In practice, Obama will start withdrawing and engage the region in order to further stabilize the situation - while using the leverage gained over Maliki to at least push for real concessions.

In practice, Bush and McCain will do no such thing. They will withdraw only and to the extent required by Maliki and, one assumes, the exigencies of our military. But even the latter pressure point has proved unpersuasive to Bush up until now. Thus, Maliki will at all times maintain leverage over Bush/McCain and stick to his maximalist agenda.

As I understand it, Obama's plan now includes a "subject to change if the level of violence kicks up again" condition.

I think it always has. But since we've "won" (per McCain), how could violence kick up agian?

So, isn't the real story here -- to the extent that there is one -- that Petraeus, Obama, McCain, and Bush all agree in principle?

Only if you simplify them like this, then yes (eg doesn't it matter a great deal what circumstances would cause each candidate to vary his policy?). But I think that you've not only removed all of the nuance, you've also elided the underlying policy differences (ie this set of statements aren't that far apart, but each candidates' position based on the sum of their statements etc are very different).

McCain says a lot of things- he explicitly backs 'cap and trade' for CO2 in some statements, but also explicitly backs not having a 'firm cap' in others. If you just consider the first statement in a vaccuum, you might conclude that he's fairly close to Obama. But I don't think that that would be representative of the totality of his views.

I think it always has. But since we've "won" (per McCain), how could violence kick up agian?

Actually, McCain has been saying the exact opposite: That we can't have a firm timetable because we haven't yet "won." See here: http://drudgereport.com/flashnym.htm ("The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.")

In any event, I've broken my blog hiatus by posting on the front page. Have at me there.

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