The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

First Mis-step

Obama Calls for Troop Reduction in Iraq:

"CHICAGO - Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a troop reduction in Iraq and criticized the Bush administration for questioning the patriotism of people who have spoken out against the war.

'I believe that U.S. forces are still a part of the solution in Iraq,' the Illinois Democrat said during a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. 'The strategic goals should be to allow for a limited drawdown of U.S. troops, coupled with a shift to a more effective counter-insurgency strategy that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead and intensifies our efforts to train Iraqi forces.'"

I haven't been following Obama's career so far in the Senate enough to know if this is his first mis-step, but I can say that this is pretty lame and weak. Whatever your position, trying to have it both ways only makes you personally look weak and indecisive and like just another politician. All the evidence so far indicates two things. 1) That the insurgency, while currently targeting Shia, is an outgrowth of the US presence. and 2) That the US needs more troops not less in Iraq. Richard Holbrooke was recently on Charlie Rose and noted that if the US had used the same proportion of troops in Iraq as it did in Bosnia and Kosovo, we would have had 600,000 troops at least on the ground, not an armed force smaller than the New York City Police Department.

So either you should take the Murtha route and call for an immediate withdrawal, a principled and not totally unreasonable position, or you should call for a time table and a boost in troop numbers. But there is absolutely no reason to believe that a gradual step down of troops starting now with out evidence that the Iraqis are ready to take over will do anything other than worsen an already terrible situation. The pockets of insurgency will strengthen and spread and chaos becomes more likely, not less.


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