We’ll never know if all this effort and progress could have led to a self-sustaining, stable Iraq. Before the country was close to ready, the Obama administration took off the training wheels by not seriously negotiating the NATO status of forces agreement that would have maintained some smaller American presence.
The administration didn’t begin negotiations on the treaty until a few months before American troops would have to start their withdrawal. The administration increased the demands. As Filkins writes, “The negotiations between Obama and Maliki fell apart, in no small measure because of lack of engagement by the White House.”
So by higher authority Mr. Brooks establishes his truth, or the truth he wishes us to believe, ignoring all the evidence from
2011 2008. and my higher authority,
As it happens, I was working on a piece about this that’s now been rendered obsolete. But that won’t stop me from purging my notebook! Many of the people I talked to reached pretty much the same conclusion as Abramowitz’s sources. For instance, here’s a Pentagon official who requested anonymity:
“Politically it is significant. The Iraqis are telling us to leave and the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, has basically agreed to go. Kind of hard for the far right to call what follows surrender or retreat.”
That’s exactly right. Bush’s ability to be outmaneuvered on the basing pact has turned withdrawal into a consensus position. The good news — the really good news – is that we’ll probably be spared a Vietnam-like 30 years’ worth of recriminations over withdrawal. I suppose it’s premature to say that, but this isn’t Congress cutting off funding, this is the same administration that started the war capitulating to Iraqi opinion.
Mr. Ackerman, meet Mr. Brooks.
In other words, the occupation could easily end in advance of Dec. 31, 2011, the date set in the accord. And why not? According to Maliki, who wanted a 2010 withdrawal, President Bush just wanted a 2011 withdrawal to help John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Sounds downright Nixonian. Ackerman links to a Washington Post piece, required head bob to the Villagers,
By agreeing to a fixed deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, President Bush contradicted years of promises that he would never agree to anything but a “conditions-based” plan for phasing out the American military role there. But he may also have given President-elect Barack Obama more flexibility in fulfilling his campaign promise to bring the troops home.
You may wish to read the whole thing. The Post piece, not Brooks.
Updated to fix link and date.