23. November 2005 · Comments Off on Slowly, A Middle Ground Being Forged · Categories: Iraq, Military, Politics

Yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) came out with some language on withdrawal more reasonable than what we’ve heard from most of the Jackasses, prior to the vote on the “Murtha Resolution”:

“During the course of the next year, we need to focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq,” Obama said in a luncheon speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, a forum he had requested. “Notice that I say `reduce,’ and not `fully withdraw.'”

This is a good thing. Unfortunately, he followed it up with more language indicating that he really doesn’t have a clue:

“The administration has narrowed an entire debate about war into two camps: `cut-and-run’ or `stay the course,'” Obama said. “If you offer any criticism or even mention that we should take a second look at our strategy and change our approach, you are branded `cut-and-run.’ If you are ready to blindly trust the administration no matter what they do, you are willing to stay the course.”

If he had been listening to prominent members of the administration and the military, including Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Lt. Gen. John Vines, he’d know that they see our presence in Iraq beginning to come down within a three to six-month timeframe. Ah – some common ground!

The American people do deserve, and are increasingly insisting upon, some sort of forward visibility – a plan, if you will. But establishing time as a primary factor in that plan is foolhardy. It takes a very long time to create a fully functioning contemporary military – much longer than simply training and equipping ground combat units. It is likely that, barring a “cut-and-run” bill passing in Congress, we will have trainer/advisors, medical corps, air support units and the like, in Iraq for several more years. But the word is that Iraq has more than thirty battalions of ground troops which can function with only minor embedded coalition assistance.

What is needed is an objective oriented plan, which says, item-by-item, “once the Iraqi forces have such-and-such a level of capability, at such-and-such a function, then so many of these sorts of our units can come home” – with projections of when each objective is expected to be obtained. And, the funny thing is, I’m sure all this information exists within the administative/military hierarchy. However, knowing the way the military government works, it is likely voluminous, labyrinthine, and fragmented. Were the Administration to put together a team to accumulate all this management groundwork, then simplify and condense it down to a few pages, so the average citizen can grasp it. And then distribute it – along with the caveat that, like any good business plan, it is flexible, as conditions on the ground change, this whole controversy can be quelled.

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