Thursday, May 28, 2009

Casey Says US Will Be in Iraq for Ten Years

On Tuesday, Gen. Casey, the Army chief of staff, said that the US was going to keep troops in Iraq for ten years. As far as I can tell, the White House hasn't issued any response Casey's comments, although though they obviously contradict Obama's plan to pull all US troops out of Iraq by August 2010. There also hasn't been any comment on this from any of the liberal bloggers I've checked. Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Ezra Klein, Spencer Ackerman (or rather, his guest bloggers, since he's on vacation), Atrios and TPM have all been silent.

It's hard to tell exactly what this means. Casey has gone on record as contradicting Obama's policy, yet there has been virtually no media coverage of it, no response from the White House or the Secretary of Defense and no pushback from liberals, all of which are disturbing. One thing it definitely implies is that Obama does not have control over his generals. But what is Obama's response going to be? Over the next year and a half, there are going to be numerous forces within the military, the Republican party, and among Obama's own advisors and other Democratics pushing to continue the occupation of Iraq. They have already won victories in Obama's decision to keep a "transitional force" in Iraq until 2011, the extension of Obama's withdrawal timetable by three months and the decision to seek exceptions to the June deadline for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraqi cities. Obama is going to need to be very steadfast to maintain his commitment to a complete withdrawal. Will he do what it takes?
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