Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When and How

Bad Frame - Matt Yglesias

I think part of the problem with a withdrawal timetable for Iraq is the U.S. has never had to deal with a problem like this. The only other point in recent U.S. history where the question of withdrawal was a serious one was with the Vietnam War and even then it wasn't so much of a question of we withdraw, it was a necessity because we were losing the war. Moreover, Iraq is a different beast. Sen. Obama hasn't said that as soon as he takes office the clock on those sixteen months of his starts running. He's said that he wants the withdraw done in sixteen months. A nuanced distinction, yes, but an important one. It gives Sen. Obama time and proper access to information that will decide when the sixteen month clock starts.
I'm not going to debate the merits of a timetable since I already support it and the U.S. military simply cannot sustain itself any longer in Iraq. But I will say that reducing our numbers in Iraq will force the Iraqis to get their act together, both socially and politically, or face dissolution and civil war. It will also free up resources so the military can move against other threats. I doubt Sen. McCain sees it this way, hence my support for Sen. Obama.