Looks like it’s a little bit longer than the 16 months Obama talked about during the primaries, but as long as the plan is to get out during his first term I bet he’ll allow the generals more time to execute a plan they think is realistic.
The plan was proposed by the top American commanders responsible for Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno, and it represents their first recommendation on troop withdrawals under an Obama presidency. While Mr. Obama has said he will seek advice from his commanders, their resistance to a faster drawdown could present the new president with a tough political choice between overruling his generals or backing away from his goal.
The plan, completed last week, envisions withdrawing two more brigades, or some 7,000 to 8,000 troops, from Iraq in the first six months of 2009, the military officials said. But that would leave 12 combat brigades in Iraq by June 2009, and while declining to be more specific, the officials made clear that the withdrawal of all combat forces under the generalsâ€™ recommendations would not come until some time after May 2010, Mr. Obamaâ€™s target.
This is good news as it signals an end to the Iraq slog.
Now it’s time to let Iraqis figure it all out. Because whatever happens, we’re only delaying the inevitable.
More as it develops…