I am surprised that ABC news got this one through the Censors. In a televised report today Martha Raddatz ask soldiers two simple questions that Senator Obama should have asked before he announced his “I’ll get them out of Iraq in 16 months ” plan.
1) Is it Possible to get all of those people and equipment out in 16 months?
2) What would happen if we withdrew that fast?
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Martha Raddatz opened her report this morning by pointing to Obama’s website, where the candidate insists that once elected he will immediately begin withdrawing troops from Iraq according to a 16 month timetable. She then asks, “is it possible to get all those troops and equipment out of there that fast and if you could, what would happen after they left?” The answers are no and nothing good, in that order. Every officer and every soldier Raddatz speaks with tells her that withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground:
RADDATZ: Do you think it’s dangerous to pull out if it’s not conditions based?
MAJ GEN HAMMOND: I think it’s very dangerous….
RADDATZ: It is that phrase “sustainable security” that we heard again and again in Iraq from officers on the streets of Baghdad.
OFFICER: That would be conditions based.
OFFICER 2: We’re thinking in terms of accomplishing the mission.
OFFICER 3: You can’t put a timetable on it.
RADDATZ: To senior officers.
LT GEN LLOYD AUSTIN: What I’m focused on right now is helping the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government achieve sustainable security.
So while nobody Raddatz talked to thought the outcome of a 16 month timetable would have a positive impact on the security situation, the most damning indictment of Obama’s plan came at the end of the report. Raddatz asked whether it was even possible to safely get U.S. troops and their equipment out on such a short timeline:
Several commanders we talked to off camera said, no way.
Barack Obama is making promises he can’t possibly keep. And more than that, he seems inclined to throw away the enormous progress American troops have made in Iraq over the past year just to satisfy the liberal bloggers and special interest groups that helped him to the nomination. Obama opposed the surge that led to this progress, and now he’s supporting a withdrawal plan that would undermine it. If that’s his approach to Iraq, why would anyone trust him to deal effectively with the war in Afghanistan? How long until MoveOn and Code Pink demand an end to the war there, too? And how long until Obama comes to the conclusion that aggressive, presidential diplomacy with Iran and Pakistan is a more effective way of dealing with the Taliban and al Qaeda than military force?