Three more years?

Iraq’s cabinet has voted almost unanimously to approve the security agreement that allows U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011. That’s three more years, for those liberals counting at home.

The Washington Post reassuringly notes that “the agreement would not affect Obama’s pledge to withdraw most U.S. combat forces within 16 months of his inauguration.” For the agreement “says nothing about when a drawdown would begin, the rate of departure, or accomplishing it earlier than 2011.”

True. But the agreement removes Obama’s ability to justify a premature withdrawal by claiming that this is what the Iraqis have mandated.

If Obama has any sense, and I think he does, the timing and pace of the drawdown will be dictated by the situation on the ground, just as would have been the case under George W. Bush or John McCain. We can all hope that, thanks to the policies McCain insisted upon, Bush implemented, and Obama opposed, the situation will permit nearly all of our troops to leave Iraq well before the end of 2011.

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