Tuesday :: Dec 16, 2008

Follow The Leader

by Turkana

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll offers strong incentive for President-elect Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to get us out of Iraq. Many of us have been disappointed with Obama's selections to his national security team, but the public clearly wants Obama to use that team to end the U.S. occupation.

Americans are more upbeat about U.S. prospects in Iraq than at any time in the past five years, but nearly two-thirds continue to believe the war is not worth fighting and 70 percent say President-elect Barack Obama should fulfill his campaign promise to withdraw U.S. forces from the country within 16 months, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

That's as clear as can be. And it's a clear message to Obama, in regard to his key appointees:

The poll findings show that Americans expect Obama to shift U.S. policy in a way that key nominees for his national security team have cautioned against in the past. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, national security adviser-designate James L. Jones and secretary-of-state nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton have questioned Obama's timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, saying the U.S. pullback must occur in a way that does not open the door to a surge of violence.

In a much overlooked article in The Guardian, less than a week ago, it was reported that:

Britain's six-year occupation of south Iraq will begin drawing to a close in March, and the last troops will leave Basra by June, a senior defence source disclosed yesterday.

Smart. Of course:

But instead of handing over to Iraqi authorities, the British will be replaced at their Basra airport base by a large force of US troops, who will set up their own headquarters there, the source revealed.

Under current policy, our strongest ally is leaving, but not for Iraqis to take over, for us to take over. This is, of course, the current policy under the current administration, which includes the man Obama will retain at the head of the Pentagon. Presumably, Secretary Gates will be fully on board with Obama's presumed dramatic shift from the current administration's current policy.

There is also one other bit of key information in that Guardian article:

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the chief of defence staff, said last month that British troops cannot simply be transferred "one for one" from Iraq to Afghanistan. "It is crucial that we reduce the operational tempo for our armed forces," he said.

Both the training and the family life of British troops have been seriously disrupted by the extent of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and defence chiefs are unlikely to back any significant increase in the number of troops deployed to southern Afghanistan until well into next year.

Let's just hope the President-elect takes a cue from our British allies, on that one. Too...

Turkana :: 10:32 AM :: Comments (15) :: Digg It!