Iraq on the mend

Some 8,000 troops could be leaving Iraq by early next year, based on recommendations Gen. David Petraeus made to top officials in the Bush administration last week. Bush is to announce his plans for troop redeployments this week, and some of the drawdown in Iraq is expected to free up more military personnel to aid in battling the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This was made possible by the successful surge in troops beginning in 2007. Just ask Sen. Barack Obama, who opposed the surge. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Thursday, Obama said the surge had succeeded “beyond our wildest dreams.”

Obama also said he remains worried that political reform in Iraq is not matching military success. That’s a legitimate concern, but recent events suggest that the political situation is improving.

Most importantly, the United States and Iraq have been negotiating for months over the long-term status of our military personnel in that country. The current proposal calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq’s major cities by the end of next year, and leave the country entirely by the end of 2011. That will only happen, however, if Iraq’s government and military demonstrate they are stable enough to handle their own defense.

Meanwhile, the latest proposed troop reductions are welcome news, regardless of one’s political proclivities.


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