How to Neutralize Opposition to Ending the Iraq War
The Associated Press reports:
The United States plans to withdraw most of its troops from by August 2010, 19 months after President Barack Obama’s inauguration, according to administration officials. The withdrawal plan would fulfill one of Obama’s central campaign pledges, albeit a little more slowly than he promised. He said he would withdraw troops within 16 months, roughly one brigade a month from the time of his inauguration. …
The 19-month strategy is a compromise between commanders and advisers who are worried that security gains could backslide in Iraq and those who think the bulk of U.S. combat work is long since done.
Why, 19 months instead of 16??? What a craven sellout!!1!! A SLAP IN THE FACE to his antiwar base! A three-month-long slap in the face!
OK, seriously, I’ve confirmed the story independently, and this is extremely well played. Portraying a three-month delay in pulling combat forces out as a “compromise” with those who wanted a slower withdrawal is a great way to nullify bureaucratic opposition to withdrawal. The “23-months” option was mooted, considered, and rejected, and it’s very hard to see see how 90 extra days of combat could be substantively problematic to even hardcore antiwar forces. Last year, withdrawing combat forces from Iraq on a fixed timetable was “reckless.” This year it’s the “compromise” policy of the U.S. government. Everyone gets something — thereby neutralizing rejectionism — and those who want to end the war get the lion’s share. Ironically, it’s wise counterinsurgency strategy.
Now let’s see if conservatives try and portray 90 days as an abandonment of a campaign promise and proof that Obama is just like George W. Bush.