Obama: Blustery And Confident, As Usual

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Aug 31, 2010 8:48 PM
No one doubted his speech would reveal little, if nothing, on the subject of how to continue management of the second-most unstable county in the world. But were there any other options? Iraq is faced with violent sectarian conflict and unstable elections, and we're pulling out mainly for political reasons. It's true that violence is down, but  Interior Minister Jawad Bolani said his country was in "a state of emergency" as the result of our departure. Retired Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a former assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, admitted that one of the biggest benefits for would be "more dwell time for soldiers back with their families" — in other words, longer breaks for our American soldiers who are serving abroad.

The Americans that do remain will see combat just as much as previous "combat ready" soldiers, only there will be fewer Americans to do it — in that sense, this speech is a relief.   At least the worst is over for American soldiers, and we can finally see if Iraqis can do it on their own. It's possible, but things don't look good. President Obama didn't say that tonight, but he couldn't, really.