Jonah’s point that the safer Iraq becomes, the more comfortable people will be withdrawing from Iraq is probably quite true. But that comfort is contingent on the stewardship of the withdrawal. Withdrawal based on an arbitrary deadline (what The Washington Post derisively calls Obama’s “Iron Timetable”) untethered to honor or winning is almost certainly something with which Americans aren’t comfortable.
The argument thus shifts from whether Iraq has become safe enough for withdrawal (an argument that would gradually move in Obama’s direction as violence continues to decline) to whether Americans feel safe about who’s managing the withdrawal. Is it being done in a way calculated to (and directed by someone intent upon) preserving American honor and victory?
Obama fails that test. His positions on the surge and withdrawal are flatly incoherent. He’s committed to withdrawal in 16 months, but a withdrawal timetable is contingent upon conditions on the ground. The surge has been a success, but even knowing what he knows now he still would’ve opposed the surge. It was a mistake to invade Iraq, but if al Qaeda becomes resurgent after our withdrawal we will reinvade.
These are not the positions of a serious man about a serious topic. Can anyone cogently describe Obama’s Iraq policy without colliding into serial contradictions and absurdities? This is one of the reasons polls show Obama to be a much riskier choice for president — by a margin of more than 20 points.
By the way — knowing what he knows now, would Obama have opposed Third Army’s relief of Bastogne? How about the Inchon landing? The invention of the light bulb?