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Obama Outlines His Troop Pullout Plan (Updated)

I'll make it brief: There are only 16 months before the next president is sworn in. If that president is a Democrat and if we still have 100 thousand (or more) troops in Iraq by then, this new president's term will be crippled by controversy.

Simply put, s/he will be dogged by accusations that s/he lost the war. Republicans (and some Democrats) will use this impossible situation to accuse the Democrats of being everything from cowards and dilettantes to terrorist appeasers and traitors...and worse. They'll use the issue in the mid-terms of 2010 and the election of 2012 and beyond.

That said, Sen. Obama's sense of timing is pretty good:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is calling for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. combat brigades from Iraq, with the pullout being completed by the end of next year.

"Let me be clear: There is no military solution in Iraq and there never was," Obama said in excerpts of the speech provided to The Associated Press.

"The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year -- now," the Illinois senator says.

I'll be waiting to see what he does next. And that goes for Hillary as well. As for John Edwards, he's out of power and all he can do is talk.

It's Obama who has the stage today.

UPDATED: Well, Sen. Edwards has upped the ante:

Bush is going to talk about his handing off the Iraq war to the next president [Thursday], and John Edwards has bought two minutes of airtime to follow Bush:

Edwards has bought two minutes of air time on MSNBC, scheduled to air after Bush's 15-minute televised speech from the White House at 9 p.m. EDT...

"Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he's ever had -- more time, more troops, and more war," Edwards says in the ad, according to excerpts provided by his campaign.

The ad was taped at Edwards' home in Chapel Hill, N.C., in the style of an Oval Office address, with him sitting at a desk and speaking straight to the camera, with American flag in the background.

..."Tell Congress you know the truth," Edwards says. "They have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice -- a firm timeline for withdrawal."

Well played, Senator!

Comments

Um, Mr. Stoller has a different take.

Shorter Matt Stoller: Obama is Liberman Lite. This is more vicious than he's been about even Hillary.

As for your pessimistic view of 2010 and 2012, it echoes Juan Cole's warnings of "Carterization." A pretty good analysis that MUST be avoided.

I'm hoping you and Juan are wrong (and Matt is just shrill). Then again, I've been known to overestimate the intelligence of the electorate on many occasions. Mencken being right once was more than enough, dammit.

“Obama will not lead on Iraq, but worse than that, he will not even address it.”
--Stoller

“Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now. We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year.”
--Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2007

I used to like Stoller but he’s just a partisan (in favor of his own particular candidate) hack now. He's become a drag on the liberal/progessive cause.

Oh, and if Democrats show some spine confronting the neocons on Iraq, they have nothing to fear from the American public - the relatively sane two-thirds of it anyway.

“Obama will not lead on Iraq, but worse than that, he will not even address it.”
--Stoller

“Let me be clear: there is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now. We should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should proceed at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all of our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year.”
--Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2007

I used to like Stoller but he’s just a partisan (in favor of his own particular candidate) hack now. He's become a drag on the liberal/progessive cause.

Oh, and if Democrats show some spine confronting the neocons on Iraq, they have nothing to fear from the American public - the relatively sane two-thirds of it anyway.

Well played indeed Mr. Edwards.

"My position has been very clear. For over a year, I have called for an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops—not by next summer, not in the near future, but today—to jumpstart the comprehensive political solution that will end the violence in Iraq and will allow a complete withdrawal of all combat troops within 9 to 10 months. Some, like Senator Obama, have said we should only ‘begin’ to end this war now. Senator Obama would withdraw only 1-2 combat brigades a month between now and the end of next year, which for the next several months could essentially mimic the president’s own plans to withdraw 30,000 troops by next summer.
This might be semantics, and academic at that. But, I'll bet that if you looked carefully enough, Barack's gradual reduction could be expedited along the lines Edwards is talking about.

Tell me again why Hillary is ahead of these guys?

Because the American people will not tolerate a loser. And in the absence of any candidate making a convincing case that we're declaring victory and coming home, the American public will be very cautious about ending this occupation.

They will NOT tolerate a loser. And the Republicans understand this quite well.

America is a weird country.

"America is a weird country."

It’s all about the leadership - in any country.

But Ara’s on to something. When I think about who comes across as the “toughest” of the Dem candidates, ironically, I get Hillary. In our current zeitgeist, I think that plays more importantly than ever. Much more so than when Republicans were using a south Texas addy and a southern drawl to sell us a Yankee pussy living off his daddy’s success. We had peace and prosperity then, if you can still recall.

Toughness will be more important than favorable/unfavorable ratings for sure. This is why Hillary's high unfavorables won't matter so much. And why Giuliani's infidelities (marital and otherwise) won't be such a factor either.

Which perfectly illustrates the problem with the electorate. If it were about wisdom and sound judgement, as it should be, Giuliani would be a fading memory. Then, so would the conservative movement.

You run an election with the voters you have and not the voters you wish you had.


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