For Iraqis, the breakthrough was bittersweet because they won concessions from the Americans but must still accept the presence of U.S. troops on their soil for three more years.
As if anyone, including the Iraqi government, thinks that Iraq is ready for US troops to pull out.
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office in January, has said he would pull U.S. troops out of Iraq within 16 months of moving into the White House.
Honestly, the 16 month number for the bulk of combat troops looks reasonable right now. If the security situation stays on the course it’s been on, and that’s a gigantic “if,” we could have the majority of troops, including most of the combat units, home by summer 2009. Or in Afghanistan, if needed. But it won’t be all of them, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see pre-positioned heavy equipment for at least a few brigades left behind.
Before everyone gets too excited about drawing down troops, though:
Iraq’s neighbors and U.S. adversaries, Iran and Syria, have opposed the pact, arguing that the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces offers the best option for Iraq.
They mean “the best option for Iran and Syria.” Those who are calling for faster withdrawal would do well to spend a few minutes wondering why their position is the same as that of Iran and Syria.
We’re close to entering territory where our political policy will have almost complete control over the fate of the campaign.