The upper fold of the newspapers yesterday boomed “Iraq Troop Withdrawal,” or more evocatively, “Pullout From Iraq.” But I suspect some (not all) in the press corps were less than ebullient about President Obama’s speech to the Camp Lejeune Marines.
A few sentences beyond the headlines we learned this was to be an 18-month scaled withdrawal – not the “immediate withdrawal” promised in Campaign ’08. Moreover, we learned that while combat troops will leave, 35,000-50,000 support troops (approximately the same number now stationed in Korea and West Germany) will remain in Iraq until at least 2011. And we learned that while studying this question Obama had consulted, and earned the support of, Republican Senator John McCain.
Strikingly, there are expressions of President Obama’s pride that our troops “have succeeded beyond any expectations,” led by “two of our finest generals.” “You got the job done,” he told the Marines. Put another way: “Mission Accomplished.”
The Marines roared their approval of their (newly born) Commander in Chief. Aye, aye sir! Now President Obama, lead us to a similar victory in Afghanistan. We can do it!