Posted by WLS:
Last week Obama suffered a little dustup with the press and the leftwingnutroots over the suggestion that after visiting Iraq and consulting with the combat commanders, he might find cause to “refine” his position on the pace of troop withdrawals that he has pledged both on the stump and in writing on his campaign website:
Bringing Our Troops Home
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.
As reported by politico.com, in a hastily called second news conference last Thursday Obama repeated this pledge after he said his comments earlier in the day on the subject were being misinterpreted:
“When I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies,” he said, according to CBS News. “I have been consistent, throughout this process, that I believe the war in Iraq was a mistake.”
Obama later said at a second news conference he still intends to stick to the timeline.
At the second meeting with reporters, Obama said: “We’re going to try this again. Apparently I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq. … I have said throughout this campaign that … I would bring our troops home at a pace of one to two brigades per month and at that pace we would have our combat troops out in 16 months. That position has not changed. I have not equivocated on that position. I am not searching for maneuvering room with respect to that position.
But, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, about as anti-Iraq War as they come in the press contingent covering the war from the beginning, had a pretty devastating piece on Good Morning America earlier today, and it is bound to be repeated later today and through the weekend on various news programs. Raddatz has several senior military leaders in Iraq, including Major General Hammond, Commander of US Forces Baghdad, and Lt. General Austin, Commander US Forces Iraq, saying that a withdrawal plan such as the one advocated by Obama is dangerous and not feasible — though none reference Obama’s plan specifically.
General Hammond states that it would be very dangerous to have any form of “time-based” withdrawal plan, rather than a “conditions-based” withdrawal plan. General Austin says he’s focused on helping the Iraqi government achieve “sustainable security.”
But, more significantly, Raddatz says that off-camera, the officers she spoke with said it would be logistically impossible to remove 1-2 combat brigades per month as Obama has pledged he would do since his campaign began.
Why? Because rotating combat brigades in and out of Iraq — a rotation that happens by just removing the troops themselves but leaving their equipment behind to be used by their replacements — is completely different from actually removing a combat brigade and all their equipment from a warzone.
One of two things about this issue is true:
1) Obama is fully aware that his plan is not logistically feasible but has no compunction about continuing to make disingenuous campaign pledges that have no basis in reality — hence his initial efforts to hedge his position last week, which will bloom in full after his first visit to Iraq which will cause him to “refine” his plan; or
2) Obama is a sitting US Senator, with assignments on both the Foreign Relations and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, who has cast votes on troop deployments and funding of operations, but has NO CLUE about the amount of men and material that constitute a single combat brigade, nor about the logistical difficulties in moving that amount of men and material out of a warzone taking into consideration the existing airlift and shipping capabilities of the US military — yet thinks he’s qualified to be Commander in Chief.
I’m not sure which would be more venal.
Raddatz: “So, could the military manage the pace that Barack Obama has suggested? Several commanders we talked to off-camera said “No way.”