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A reader writes from Hawaii regarding President-elect Obama’s visit with the Marines:

Aloha.

I’m an active duty naval officer stationed in Pearl Harbor. I was there for the president-elect’s appearance. The crowd was respectful, as you might expect from today’s professional Marines.

The reception was a short photo-op kind of thing. Couple of quick turns around the tables and he was gone.

What was of more interest, at least to me, were the conversations after he left. Many Marines expressed concern that they will be out of Iraq before it’s prudent. These are 3rd Regiment Marines, who have been in heavy rotation in Iraq for the past 3-4 years; many are returning from their 3rd tour and will be heading out on their 4th presently.

Being Marines, they want the Army to hold Iraq so they can go to Afghanistan and work on solving that problem. What they don’t want is a retreat or a hollow residual force that masks a retreat. They know Iraq is on weak legs now and it will need a strong US presence for at least a decade.

Hope the P-E knows that too.

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