Regardless of the skepticism of the commanders in Iraq I have no doubt that, should they be ordered to do so, they will execute the orders of President Obama to withdraw combat troops from Iraq at the rate that he requires.
In the kind of redeployment that Anderson is talking about, the troops head home, but much of their equipment stays behind. Two combat brigades means up to 1,200 humvees in addition to thousands of other pieces of equipment, like trucks, fuelers, tankers and helicopters.
And 90 percent of the equipment would have to be moved by ground through the Iraqi war zone, to the port in Kuwait, where it must all be cleaned and inspected and prepared for shipment. This is a place with frequent dust storms, limited port facilities and limited numbers of wash racks.
While Anderson and his troops have a positive attitude, several commanders who looked at the Obama plan told ABC News, on background, that there was “no way” it could work logistically.
Withdrawal under those circumstances would have implications. As things stand now it’s incompatible with sustainable security for Iraq. A lot of equipment would be left behind. If simply left behind it could fall into the hands of those who wish to do us harm. Destroying it has risks of its own. In addition to recover force readiness equipment would need to be replaced. That would cut into the withdrawal dividend that Sen. Obama is counting on to pay for the domestic programs he’s proposing.
M. Duss of Think Progress has what I think is a reasonable response to the original piece linked above. I don’t agree with some parts of it because I think that the costs of withdrawal are higher than M. Duss suggests and that I don’t think there’s a downside risk to not withdrawing from Iraq as a consequence of Afghanistan being short-changed because I don’t believe that a great deal more can be accomplished with a significantly larger force in Afghanistan as long as the current constraints there remain in place.