More from that Obama interview with the Military Times:
Q: If the [Iraq] withdrawal doesn’t begin as soon as you take office, when would you like it to begin? What kind of strategy would you set in terms of timing?
A: It’s very hard to anticipate what it’s going to be like six months from now. We saw how rapidly things have changed over the last six months, because of not only the extraordinary work of our armed forces, but also the shift in attitudes of tribal leaders in places like Anbar, the Mahdi army’s decision to — for now at least — to stand down the more aggressive posture that the Maliki government took in going into places like Basra. So if current trends continue and we are at a position where we continue to see reductions in violence and stabilization and continue to see some improvements on the part of the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, then my hope would be that we could draw down in a deliberate fashion in consultation with the Iraqi government at a pace that is determined in consultation with General Petraeus and the other commanders on the ground. It strikes me that that is something we could begin relatively soon after inauguration. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a deteriorating situation for some reason, then that’s going to have to be taken into account.
That comment sounds a lot more like Samantha Power’s comment than his pledge on his website. To refresh, Obama foreign policy adviser Power said to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008, about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”
Obama’s campaign web site still says, “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.”