Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2009

IRAQ ENDGAME.... During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama had a standard line in his stump speech about the war in Iraq: ''I intend to end this war. My first day in office, I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war responsibly and deliberately but decisively.''

If we count Wednesday as his first full day in office, it's a pledge the new president apparently intends to keep.

On his first full day as president, Barack Obama will meet with high-ranking military officers to discuss the Iraq war, a conflict he has vowed to end after six years of fighting, a top adviser to Obama said Saturday.

Wednesday's meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military commanders and aides will fulfill a key campaign promise and bring the war back to the political forefront after months of being overshadowed by the economy. [...]

The Obama adviser, who would speak Saturday only on condition of anonymity because the Wednesday meeting has not been formally announced, said the session will include several top commanders and aides in addition to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

CNN, citing two transition officials, noted the same meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and added that it "suggests the new President wants to send a signal to supporters that despite his heavy focus on the financial crisis he will also address Iraq early in the new administration."

Steve Benen 8:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (7)

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I'm making a list and checking it twice. Campaign promise close to #1 for me, get us the heck out of Iraq, appears to be starting on Wednesday.

Posted by: Tommy on January 18, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

I would hope that by this time, the high ranking military officers know enough to show up to the meeting with a plan. The assignment has been telegraphed for long enough, and they have already had the opportunity to express any reservations they might have.

Posted by: Danp on January 18, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

>know enough to show up to the meeting with a plan

I wonder. This may be a new experience for them.

Most of us have suffered under a Bush-type manager. The whole thing about punctuality, ties, no cellphones and all that shit usually is a front for an insecure mandarin who really doesn't care what you think and wouldn't even have the meeting except for the aspect of reminding you of the power structure.

There is not much point preparing for these meetings. You won't be asked any questions, let alone be given the opportunity to ask them yourself. And nothing ever changes, because there is no real leadership, just what the mandarin imagines are the trappings of such.

And people's work quality sinks to match.

Then once in a while corporate accidently replaces the pointy-haired boss with somebody who knows what the hell he is doing. Maybe 4 sentences to start the meeting then suddenly we are all subjected to a grilling of Perry Masonic quality. This person is not mean or even aggressive (although sometimes they are on the gruff side) but he will dissect the group and its prospects like a forensic pathologist.

If you don't have answers you immediately understand that have one chance, the next meeting, to have them or the train leaves the station without you.

Given how Obama ran that near-billion dollar campaign, I have hopes that he is in the latter group. So if they don't have a plan they sure will by the Wednesday after.

PS: There is always a percentage of people that like things the previous way, I've noticed.

Posted by: doesn't matter on January 18, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, so the backsliding begins! First full day in office. So does the sixteen months start on 1/20, or 1/21?

Yes, I'm kidding.

I'm much more concerned about how he defines the "residual forces" left after the 16 months. I'm hoping it's not 50k combat troops, re-labelled as "advisors". I don't think that will happen, but it's not outside the range of possibility.

Posted by: Jeff S. on January 18, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I see the ubiquitous "anonymous sources" are still in full effect.

This journalist practice was bullshit when it was done in service to Bush, and it's bullshit when it's done to further Obama's agenda.

He promised a new kind of politics in which we would be treated as grown-ups. Enought with anonymous leaks to journalist who trade their integrity for access.

Posted by: Winknandanod on January 18, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

The DOD already has a plan to get out of Iraq. It's SOP to develop one as soon as it's required - it was required the day they drove M1A1 tanks through downtown Baghdad.

Let's hope the military learned some lessons from Bush. Here's what a colonel told me about Bush:

"Why did the cowboy pick this horse? Because he knows that he can ride this horse till it drops dead and never hear a complaint. What this horse needs is a better cowboy."

Well, the DOD now has a better cowboy, and I hope they realize that and get behind it - for the sake of our country. We don't have the leeway anymore for the DOD to play footsie with a President that they don't like. (They never liked Clinton even thought he didn't ride them hard, and put them away wet, like Bush did.) We have some serious security issues associated with AQ terrorism, loose nukes (if Pakistan falls, who get the nukes?), a resurgent Russia, and a laying-in-wait China. The last thing we need is a bunch of military types longing for the "good old days" of a boy warrior wanna-be.

Posted by: Glen on January 18, 2009 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Obama might prove to be an LBJ, a compromiser who couldn't get in and couldn't get out. Pull some troops out and Iraq starts to go very sour, will Obama have the balls to pull out anyway?

I don't read him as having that much guts.

Posted by: Luther on January 19, 2009 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK



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