By: Joe Strupp
After twice appearing publicly in recent days to clarify his position on an Iraq withdrawal, Sen. Barack Obama on Monday turned to The New York Times Op-Ed page to once again explain his plan for getting the U.S. out of the war there.
In a column, Obama states: “In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda ? greatly weakening its effectiveness.
“But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we?ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq?s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.”
He later writes, “As I?ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 ? two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.”
The entire column can be found here.
As of late Monday morning, the column had prompted more than 350 comments posted to the Times’ web site.