My God, did the Huffington Post editor handling this piece not know what to do with it. Buried way at the bottom of Joshua Hersh's piece on Iraq is a powerfully strong signal that the Obama administration truly wants to keep a residual troop presence there indefinitely:
Brett McGurk, the former National Security Council official who led negotiations over the 2008 SOFA, has returned to Iraq as an envoy of President Obama.
This is not the first time that McGurk, a young lawyer who one former defense official on Iraq calls "the smartest guy" on the legal status of American troops, has been called back into service to help improve communications with the Iraqi government.
What more do you need to know? The very interlocutor of the 2008 accord has been drafted to back out of its strictures. And consider the irony: the first time around, McGurk's negotiations were about keeping a residual presence in Iraq; the Iraqis outmaneuvered him into acquiescing to a withdrawal timetable -- a complete 180-degree turn for the Bush White House -- right before the 2008 election. Now Obama, who won his primary election in no small way because of antipathy to the Iraq war, is restoring McGurk's original mandate.