OBAMA ON WITHDRAWAL….Here is Obama’s official statement on the news that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with the Iraqi government on a timetable to withdraw American combat troops:
I am glad that the Administration has finally shifted to accepting a timetable for the removal of our combat troops from Iraq. Success in Iraq depends on an Iraqi government that is reconciling its differences and taking responsibility for its future, and a timetable is the best way to press the Iraqis to do just that. I welcome the growing convergence around this pragmatic and responsible position.
….Senator McCain has stubbornly focused on maintaining an indefinite U.S presence in Iraq, but events have made his bluster and record increasingly out of touch with reality. While Senator McCain continues to offer unconditional military and economic support for Iraq, I strongly believe that we need to use our leverage with the Iraqi government to ensure a political settlement. In addition to a timetable, we should only train Iraqi Security Forces if Iraq’s leaders reconcile their differences, and we must insist that Iraq invests its $79 billion surplus on rebuilding its own country.
That’s a good tone to take. Also interesting is that despite the 2011 date we’ve apparently badgered the Iraqis into accepting, Obama is sticking to his 16-month/2010 guns.