he Obama administration plans to slash the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq from 45,000 to 3,000 by year's end, Fox News reported on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has reportedly approved the reduction, while senior military commanders, who had requested troop strength no lower than 10,000, are reportedly "livid." Is President Obama over-delivering on his promise to withdraw?
This is an insurgent's dream: Could this be part of Obama's master plan, creating chaos that the next Republican president will have to "inherit and take the blame for"? asks Moe Lane at RedState. OK, probably not. But Obama's plan will wreak havoc, and not just for the generals who know that Iraq can't yet afford to be abandoned by American troops. The Kurds, and every other pro-democracy Iraqi, for that matter, should condemn this, too. "After all, they're the ones who will be doing the bleeding."
"Obama to reduce Iraq strength to 3,000, lose election"
Actually, all is going according to plan: America's current agreement with Iraq expires at the end of the year, says Dan Murphy at The Christian Science Monitor. It calls for all of our soldiers to be out by next year. Keeping a big force in Iraq against the wishes of the Iraqi government would be "tantamount to denying the sovereignty that was returned with so much fanfare more than five years ago." If Iraq asks for more troops to stay, that's one thing. Otherwise, we should bring everyone home.
"Yes, the Iraq drawdown is really happening"
Iraqis are ready — but we do need to police Iran: Iraqi security forces can handle the insurgency once we withdraw, says Ali Gharib at ThinkProgress, which is why the administration doesn't buy the argument that Iraq will "go to hell" when we're gone. Still, the drawdown increases the urgency of covert work to counter Iranian influence over Iraq, where Tehran's fellow Shias represent the majority. And that "could be a never-ending mission."
"Report: Obama administration dropping troop levels in Iraq to 3,000"
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