Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ricks – Iraq will be tougher for Obama, even without Clintonesque language

New York Times war correspondent Thomas Ricks has several pungent observations related to Iraq for President-elect Obama, focused on the fact that the Status of Forces Agreement probably doesn't mean that much, and that a lot of the easy withdrawing of "combat" troops has been done.

As to the word in scare quotes, and my "Clintonesque" comment in the header, well, I'll let Ricks speak for himself:

News flash for the president-elect: All our troops are combat troops. It isn't like some American soldiers stroll around Iraq unarmed. Nor do the insurgents inquire about the troops' MOS (military occupational specialties) before detonating an IED. Indeed, I feel safer in Iraq accompanying an infantry unit on foot patrol than I do while riding in a convoy of transport soldiers, who are much more likely to get popped by a roadside bomb. So his promise to get "combat troops" out of Iraq in the next 16 months is a phrase that means much less than it appears to.

Total agreement here on all of Ricks' main points. But, I knew that long ago; hat's another reason I had Green, not Democratic, on my presidential vote. Anyway, read the full post for why Ricks thinks a two-term Obama still might not be all the way out of Iraq.