Friday, February 27, 2009
When A Withdrawal Isn't
President Obama's announcement today that he's pulling troops from Iraq by September of next year seems like the satisfaction of a campaign promise. But a closer look shows that's not exactly true.
First, he had promised during the campaign to get the troops three months sooner. For another, he's still leaving up to 50,000 troops in country until the end of 2011.
So it's really not a withdrawal as advertised. It's only a reduction.
Some will argue that he's pulling "combat troops" out and that those remaining will perform other functions. Nonsense.
First, the term combat troops is redundant. Whether actively engaged or not, all troops are combat troops.
Second, this is not like the troop deployment in, for example, Germany. Iraq remains a dangerous place for everyone, including U.S. troops.
The reduction of troops is a refreshing move in the right direction. But let's not start throwing ticker tape parades for Johnny coming marching home quite yet. That will have to wait 'til New Year's Day, 2012.
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