Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.
To be sure, he won't get it done as soon as he or many other people think. But I certainly take him at his word and believe him when he says he will do it, over a specified period of time. So, when asked in the debate earlier this week, Obama says he would reserve the right to re-attack Iraq, if al-Qaida were to re-establish a base there.
Wanting to get into the act against the person who will most likely be his opponent in the general election, John McCain wanted to give Sen. Obama a heads up. He told the Senator from Illinois, "Al-Qaida already is in Iraq".
But it didn't end there. Obama punched back.
He told the Senator from Arizona, "There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq". There are many that think this is debatable, because there is strong evidence that Zarqawi was in Iraq prior to the invasion. But for argument's sake and the purposes of this post, let's assume that he is right for a moment.
If Obama is correct here, one can assume that nothing was created by the invasion. Since Al-Qaida existed both before and after the invasion, the only thing that really changed afterward was the location of said members. They flocked in and began attacking. Cells were located all over the Middle East awaiting their call. The call went out, they came, they saw, they shot, and they bombed.
More predominately, they came in from Syria. But I think it's very safe to conclude, they did come from several Arab countries. The difference lies in the fact that they were dormant, then activated for their contribution toward the ensuing insurgency. In short, they were flushed out of their homelands to fight jihad. The idea that they were all recruited and created because of the invasion, alone, is ludicrous and seriously flawed. But the biggest mistake that can be made when trying to analyze this situation is to assume that AQ would never have been there, if there had been no invasion.
What John McCain needs to do is point this out and make the case for not announcing a withdrawal, before it's safe to do so. It doesn't take a military genius to figure this out, and here's why:
1) The moment U.S. forces move to withdraw they will become targets for attacks that will most certainly be video taped and recorded for propaganda purposes. There's nothing like having film showing U.S. forces retreating and seeing them attacked. If you think recruiting spiked after the invasion, it'll really go up then.
2) To withdraw with the idea that you could come back anytime you want and quell disturbances is not sound strategy. At present, the surge is working and the death rate among military personnel is much lower. Why would it make a bit of sense to leave established positions and risk having to re-take them later?
Just take a moment and think about this.
They would love nothing more than to show the world that the evil American imperialists could be run out, by Allah's mercenaries. They would love nothing more than to have footage on Al Jazeera (and other media sources that are sympathetic to the jihadists) to prove it. They would also love nothing more than to have better strategic positioning, for a re-invasion, whereby more Americans can be killed at a higher rate than at present. This is what they want, period
Another flaw in Obama's thinking, evidently is not as obvious to him or his supporters. They do not have their thinking caps on and even if they did, they wouldn't want to acknowledge any true and distinct reality.
The truth is, if we pull out simply because it was the wrong war at the wrong time, AQ will try and will succeed at re-establishing control of the country. You can bet on it. In fact, they would be foolish not to.
They would love nothing more than a country to control closer to Israel, where they can launch attacks, once they are adequately supplied with missiles (from Iran or others). And why not? Saddam's scuds hit Israeli territory with little effort. With the right missile, a nuke lobbed from Iraq would be preferable to the Iranians as well as more accurate. Shorter distance to travel means less reaction time.
I don't expect Obama or his mesmerized followers to think of this. It's way beyond many of their grasps. But it is true, nonetheless. And while I don't much allow for them having a reasonable amount of understanding in this sticky matter, I do expect John McCain to. And I do expect him to start putting the hammer down in this debate and communicate some things better than he has. One thing is certain, he will not win the Presidency by trying to out-soundbite Obama. From what we have seen from the media so far, they will make sure this doesn't happen.
He must understand, he needs to show his superior knowledge in this area of expertise (and should not tarry). By doing this sooner rather than later, he can/will begin to persuade the independent voters that he can do a much better job than Sen. Obama. It has to start soon.
Don't kid yourself, here. This election is once again going to be about Iraq and the overall war on terror. To make it about anything else at this particular point in time, would be a big mistake. If people want to believe that putting a political novice with no military experience whatsoever in charge of such a huge enormous task for this day and age, there's not much any of us can do. A miscalculation before this is over, can and will be disastrous (both in the short and long terms).
(AC at Fore Left has some links to and comments on the recent exchange of political punches, between McCain and Obama. If this doesn't concern you, maybe you would like to see some of Obama's other foreign policy errors he would like to implement.)