December, 2011. Remember that?

ByngJohnweb400 I keep receiving mail in which the premise is the notion that there will be 30 to 50 thousand American and other foreign troops in Iraq indefinitely.

That is nonsensical.  The signed agreement with the Iraqi government specifies the terms of coalition withdrawal.  It contains a firm time line.  The US is a party to that agreement.  It is an obligation binding under international law.

President Obama stated publicly and for the record that by the end of 2011 he intends to have all US troops out of Iraq.  There was very little "flex" in the way he stated this matter.  The word "intend" had to be in his declaration because he was not, in fact, born in a stable and laid to rest in a manger.  He does not know the future.  I presume that if the overly large embassy in Baghdad were besieged by mobs, there might be some sympathy for keeping enough troops in the country to secure it until the crisis passes?

On "Meet the Press" the week after Obama's declaration, Secretary Gates was asked if the agreement with Iraq could be modified before the end of 2011.  His reply was clear.  The agreement can only be modified by joint agreement of the parties.  In other words, the agreement is unlikely to be modified unless the Iraqi government wants some specific change in it.  What might that be?  They may want us to keep enough logistical soldiers in the country to keep their forces supplied, maintained, etc.  Similar requests are possible.  Incidentally, there are no non-combat troops except chaplains, their assistants, non-SF medics and the like.  What the media people mean by "combat troops" are soldiers who are serving in units that have no function other than fighting, infantry, armor, etc.

Some people want to think that we may not withdraw fully because the generals might not like it.  People who think that do not understand the political system in America.  Bush and Co. were foolish enough to hide behind rhetoric that said that the generals were in charge of policy about Iraq.  That was nonsense then and it would be nonsense now if the Obama Administration were foolish enough to say something that implied a concession of policy decision making to the "generals."  Every flag officer in the armed forces knows that the first time he/she resists a fully formed presidential decision will be the last.

No.  We are out in 2012.  pl

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11 Responses to December, 2011. Remember that?

  1. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Odds are high that Israel will attack Iran before December 2011. Such an attack, presumably, cannot effect the specific terms of the agreement recently reached between the US and Iraq.
    But, surely, such a pre-emptive attack is a game changer and potentially represents a giant leap towards the Fire Deluge mentioned in Miller’s Canticle of Liebowitz.
    So, if true, then it just seems to me that all analysis should incorporate the high probability of an Israeli attack.

  2. frijoles junior says:

    We also signed the Geneva Conventions. Just because the Constitution states that international treaties are the law of the land, doesn’t mean that they will necessarily be observed by the Executive branch.
    Who’s going to make us go?

  3. McGee says:

    Hi Colonel Lang,
    Have you seen Andy Bacevich’s review of David Kilcullen’s book vis-a-vis COIN? Might be worth a post of it’s own:
    Best, as always

  4. Patrick Lang says:

    did you miss the war we fought there against guerrillas? They will be back if we break the treaty. pl

  5. Green Zone Cafe says:

    The troops will be out – We will just have the largest Marine Security Guard Detachment in the world in Iraq. Like a brigade or two in the IZ, Camp Victory and the Baghdad airport. And not all will be Marines.
    Plus a big MITT team. With air and logistical support and a SOF component.
    So yeah, the troops will be out.

  6. par4 says:

    Possibly air forces if the Iraqis ask for them.That would also deter an Israeli attack on Iran if they would dare to try it without U.S. permission.

  7. frijoles junior says:

    Of that I have no doubt.
    However, I still believe it to be prudent to adopt a “wait and see” attitude with respect to any prospective observance of our treaty obligations, at least until we establish a better track record.

  8. Dan M says:

    Something on my mind (and hopefully a few other folks’). How dangerous is it going to be with 50,000 troops on a few bases, as planned for by the second half of this summer? I’ve been wondering how much more (if at all) vulnerable they’ll be to mortars/ieds on supply routes when they can get out and patrol less.

  9. Because of oil politics and solely because of oil politics Iraq will still be a center of major foreign policy attention by January 1st, 2012. By then the Chinese/Japanese economic condominium (this also includes both Koreas and Taiwan) will be totally clear to the rest of the world. India/Pakistan/EU/US may be really left out unless that group (really not the BRIC) sharpens its wits and understands the below the horizon long-term strategy of CHINA is succeeding brilliantly. Two key indicators to watch are Chinese (FDI) Foreign Direct Investment and Chinese domestic investment. And as far as Islam just remember what HULUGA did to Baghdad! 1252 (?)

  10. J says:

    This one is soooo sad —
    Obama Wants Vets to Pay For Service Related Injuries –
    Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

  11. J says:
    Senators slam plan for wounded vets to use private insurance –
    WHEW! This fiasco was generated by a bunch of 30-something budget wonks who have their heads stuck in their calculators and know little of the real world… but, they’ll find out. This is not Shinseki’s idea.

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