Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Obama And The Generals On Iraq
The inimitable Juan Cole (http://www.juancole.com) is at it again, this time documenting a very poorly reported on showdown last year between the newly installed President Obama and the top generals dealing with Iraq, Petraeus and Odierno, along with SecDef Gates. They wanted him to alter the Status of Forces Agreement that Bush had made with the Iraqi government to withdraw US troops in 16 months, with independent patrols to cease last June. The generals wanted to the patrols to continue beyond June by relabeling them, something that Cole reports would have infuriated the Iraqi government. As it was, Obama stood firm with his campaign promise to stick with the 16 month timetable, and active troop patrols ceased last June as scheduled, despite the pressure from Gates and the generals. Apparently the last combat US Marines will hand over control of long-violent al-Anbar Province this coming Saturday and depart completely from Iraq shortly thereafter, and there were no combat US deaths in December. Of course Iraq continues to have many problems, but Obama has succeeded in effectively ending an active US war role there, although few realize what was involved or are noticing it now.