Thursday's Wall Street Journal reports America and Iraq have reached a tentative withdrawal calendar:
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators reached agreement on a security deal that calls for American military forces to leave Iraq's cities by next summer as a prelude to a full withdrawal of combat troops from the country, according to senior American officials.As the surge's triumph grows unquestionable and irreversible, and departure timetables turn moot, Obama's August 19th VFW speech squarely sets him on both sides of the fence:
The draft agreement sets 2011 as the goal date by which U.S. combat troops will leave Iraq, according to Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Humood and other people familiar with the matter. In the meantime, American troops will be leaving cities, towns and other population centers by the summer of 2009, living in bases outside of those areas, according to the draft.
Sen. Barack Obama, edging away from a long-held position, tacitly acknowledged the success of the Iraq troop-surge strategy during an appearance Tuesday before the country's largest organization of combat veterans.Yes, Obama still insists the invasion was a mistake. And, yes, his tentative embrace of the surge is a flip-flop. Yet, it's less teeth-grinding than Hillary's. A flip to be sure--but a departure from the anti-war "progressive" left. Most importantly, it's proper--and possibly positive evidence of a more grown-up and less partisan foreign policy to come.
"Let's be clear, our troops have completed every mission they've been given," Mr. Obama said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Orlando, Fla., where the likely Democratic presidential nominee courted military voters who are expected to play a pivotal role in several swing states. "They have created the space for political reconciliation."
It was the closest Mr. Obama - who has long opposed the surge - has come to agreeing with President Bush or likely Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on the Iraq strategy. But he stressed that he opposed the Iraq war in 2002 and still views the five-year-old mission as a waste of U.S. lives and money.