Bringing Home the Troops (Without Bringing the Troops Home)

Today’s announcement by Sen. Hillary Clinton would seem to have moved to Sen. Barack Obama’s left on withdrawing U. S. forces from Iraq:

As President, one of Hillary’s first official actions will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She will direct them to draw up a clear, comprehensive plan for withdrawal that starts removing our troops within 60 days. The plan for withdrawal will incorporate the most effective on-the-ground strategies and tactics to move personnel and equipment efficiently out of combat zones and then out of the country, and will focus on protecting our troops and reducing the risk of attacks as they come home.

That would completely eliminate U. S. forces’ role in providing security for ordinary Iraqis (which at least to some degree seems to have been a successful strategy over recent months) as does Sen. Obama’s but goes one step beyond by eliminating the role of U. S. forces in training the Iraqi military, too.

However, there’s still a certain amount of wiggle room in Sen. Clinton’s course correction:

Under Hillary’s plan the United States will retain counterterrorism forces in Iraq and the region to fight al Qaeda and will not permit terrorists to have a safe haven in Iraq from which to attack the United States or its allies.

The highlighting is mine. How many, exactly, does that mean? Combat brigades? How, specifically, is “counterterrorism forces” defined?

“Full of sound a fury signifying nothing”. I continue to think that any foreseeable president will leave between 60,000 and 80,000 U. S. forces in Iraq for the indefinite future and there’s nothing in the Sen. Clinton’s bold new initiative to suggest otherwise.

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