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The Joint Chiefs chairman has a word of warning to Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: A rapid of withdrawal from Iraq would lead to a "chaotic situation" and would "turnaround the gains we have achieved, and struggled to achieve, and turn them around overnight.Elsewhere:
Admiral Mullen's comments came in a response to a question about what the Joint Chiefs are doing to prepare for a new president, given that two of the candidates have called for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
"We need to be prepared across the board for what a new president will bring," Mullen said. "I do worry about a rapid withdrawal. . . [that would] turn around the gains we have achieved and struggled to achieve and turn them around overnight."
Asked to define a "rapid withdrawal," Mullen said, "a withdrawal that would be so fast that it would leave us in a chaotic situation and the gains we have achieved would be lost."
That said, Mullen added: "When a new president comes in, I will get my orders and I will carry them out."
A senior foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has told The Nation that if elected Obama will not "rule out" using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. The adviser also said that Obama does not plan to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009, when a new President will be sworn in.Then there's this...
Obama's broader Iraq withdrawal plan provides for some US troops to remain in Iraq--how many his advisers won't say. But it's clear that Obama's "follow-on force" will include a robust security force to protect US personnel in Iraq, US trainers (who would also require security) for Iraqi forces and military units to "strike at Al Qaeda"--all very broad swaths of the occupation.
"If Barack Obama comes into office next January and our diplomatic security service is in the state it's in and the situation on the ground in Iraq is in the state it's in, I think we will be forced to rely on a host of security measures," said the senior adviser. "I can't rule out, I won't rule out, private security contractors."
Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.
You never know, if he sounds funny - he might be Royalty.
As part of his answer, Obama responded, "As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
Sounds to me like
A womans perogative is to change her mind.
Unbfortunately, that quote isn't true either...every woman knows that deciding she wants the house to be a different color immediately after her husband has spent the entire summer painting the house is a very bad idea.
The house of "New Iraq" has taken a long time to paint...it is going to take even longer for the paint to dry.(See history of house of Bosnia, house of Europe, house of Japan, house of South Korea)
...to one question.
I note also the absence of another candidate in the story. Given current views of Iraq as
a. a mistake slowly being made right
b. a necessary effort from which we can't withdrawal
c. bad from the get-go and worse every day
(three short form opinions which I think generally encompass the thinking of a huge majority of Americans)
it seems Senator Clinton may have a difficult time finding a unique position that Americans will support. But it also seems to me that option "a" is available...
Update: Glenn Reynolds:
“There was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.”More:
The problem with this statement is that, although it's an article of leftie faith, it's not true.
As part of his answer, Obama responded, "As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."Unless there's a longer quote somewhere else, I don't see any pledge to return troops to Iraq in that comment.
And more (same link) from McCain: "I look forward to continuing this debate."