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I don't mind a little snark aimed at Obama about this... I did it myself on Friday: http://firedoglake.com/2011/10/21/late-night-fdl-non-mission-acknowledged/

But consider this from the NYT piece -- "President Obama had little interest in spending his waning political capital on keeping troops in Iraq" -- in combination with Chalabi's comment that it was the Americans in Iraq who wanted an ongoing presence.

Given Obama's oft-demonstrated reluctance to pick fights, I'm perfectly willing to believe that he genuinely wanted a full troop withdrawal the entire time, but gave a long leash to the established interests who wanted to negotiate an extension.

You've written below about the phony GOP complaints about the withdrawal announcement. Can you imagine the firestorm if, say, a year ago Obama had actually vetoed any attempt at negotiating a SOFA extension/loophole, against the wishes of the military and (arguably, at that point) the Iraqi government? I bet Obama could, and he was willing to let the process play out instead (especially if he had a hunch the result would be the same either way).


Very compelling point.

Skye Winspur

"he believed the troops would help the State Department, which will have a massive presence here in years to come, get around a country where the security is still tenuous."

So: Iraq is populated entirely by incompetent, America-hating persons, none of whom could possibly escort State Department officials. Got it.


It is great to have the opportunity to read a good quality article with useful information on topics that plenty are interested on.I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates

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